The Toronto Raptors beat the Miami Heat 99-91 on Wednesday night, never once relinquishing their early lead.
The wire-to-wire effort might represent Toronto's best performance this whole postseason, especially considering it was the only game in 12 in which both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were undeniably effective.
The Raps now head to South Beach for an elimination game on Friday night, just needing to win one of the next two games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Oh, and by the way, teams that have gotten out to a 3-2 series lead have gone on to win the series 85% of the time in NBA history, according to WhoWins.com. That number gets bumped up to 92.1% for teams with homecourt advantage in the series.
Yeah, this could actually be happening.
Before we get too excited about the future, though, let's break down the numbers for Game 5.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were both magnificent
The big story throughout this postseason for the Raptors has been the joint struggles of their All-Stars, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
Both have been effective in certain stretches, but never with any shred of consistency and rarely at the same time. Blame it on injuries, past demons, or slumps; there's no denying that these two have been off.
Both were shooting under 35% from the field and 20% from behind the arc this postseason going into a pivotal Game 5 and you would've been hard pressed to find anyone willing to bet on their figuring it out together and actually playing like All-Stars in the same game at any point during these playoffs.
In Game 5, however, they did just that.
Kyle Lowry finished with 25 points on 9-for-25 shooting from the field and 4-for-9 from long range, to go with 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a block. The shooting was still a touch off, but his hands were all over this one, as evidenced by his game-leading plus-minus of +25 over 41.5 minutes.
DeMar DeRozan was the one who found his shot, scoring 34 ultra-efficient points on 11-for-22 shooting from the field, 1-for-1 from three-point range, and 11-for-11 from the free throw line. That's good for a postseason-high True Shooting Percentage (weighted twos, threes, and free throws) of 63.3%. He also tossed in four rebounds, two assists, and two steals for good measure, all while needing treatment on his ailing thumb at just about every stop in play.
Lowry and DeRozan scored 19 of the team's 28 points in the first quarter and 20 of the team's 24 in the final frame. Their 59 combined points by game's end represented their highest total this postseason.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 59 pts, tied for the duo's most in a playoff game (also: 2014 first round) pic.twitter.com/SjchXtKzIy— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 12, 2016
Biyombo keeps the crowd Bizzy
Bismack Biyombo was worth the price of admission for this one almost by himself.
He had some monster slams and alley-oops, he swatted Heat shots into the stands, and he channeled his inner Usain Bolt, Vince Carter, and Dikembe Mutombo, shooting arrows into the sky after dunks and wagging his finger after blocks.
The crowd energized him and he certainly returned the favour:
.@BismackBiyombo0 has his fingerprints all over the first half. #NBAPlayoffs https://t.co/wVrrSNwk8G— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 12, 2016
He finished the game with 10 points, six boards, four blocks, two steals, and infinite swag, while registering a plus-minus of +15 and contesting a game-high 14 shots.
Part of the reason that the Raptors lost Game 4 was their ineffectiveness in small-ball situations and Dwane Casey's refusal to use Biyombo down the stretch when the team could've clearly used his rebounding and rim protection. He never made that mistake in this one, as Biyombo was featured in all three of the Raptors' most effective lineups on the night and registered a whopping 38 minutes.
For the first time this postseason, the Raptors won a game in which they never once allowed a tie (2-2 doesn't count) or a lead change.
They started the game on a 17-4 run and established the biggest lead by either team of the entire series at 16 points with 2:03 left in the first quarter, when they pushed the score to 26-10.
The Heat mounted a fourth quarter comeback, getting within two points in the final two minutes of the game, but they never once managed to tie the Raptors or overtake their lead.
According to numberFire Live, there was never a point in this game when the Raptors dipped below a win probability of 64%. They hit that point three times: when the score was both 0-0 and 2-2 within the first two minutes of the game, and when it hit 89-87 with 1:33 to go in the fourth.
Otherwise, smooth sailing:
In a series that has featured three overtimes, 30 ties, and 33 lead changes, this wire-to-wire game was a rare opportunity for Raptor fans to breathe (Miami's run in the fourth quarter notwithstanding).
Now, let's see if they can close out the Heat in Miami on Friday night and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (get well soon, Jonas Valanciunas and DeMarre Carroll).
Yes, that is now a real possibility, Raptor fans.