clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Raptors look to close out the Heat tonight in Game 6

New, comments

The Toronto Raptors take their 3-2 series lead to South Beach, as they attempt to put the final nail in the coffin of a decimated Heat squad

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors played their most complete game of the series in Game 5, leading from the jump. Their defense was solid, they got meaningful contributions from role players and their All-Stars played like it, for the first time in seemingly forever.

Now it's time to close it out.

It won't be easy. This Miami team has experience and poise. They've been here before. Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, (maybe) Luol Deng, and Udonis Halem aren't going to be intimidated by the moment, or by the fact that they're shorthanded and trailing. With that said, this is a team that's been decimated by injuries. Chris Bosh is done for the season, Hassan Whiteside is out for Game 6 at least, and now Luol Deng is banged up and questionable. The Heat will have to continue to rely heavily on rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson as well as second-year guard Tyler Johnson, and while those guys have shown they're talented, there are no substitutes for health and experience. The Heat have two of three in most guys, but not all three in any one player.

What might ultimately beat them is, as Jalen Rose is wont to say, the only man who's undefeated.

Father Time.

Here are your keys to the game. Yeah I'm gonna get Shakespearean, what of it?

1. Wherefore Art Thou, DeMarre?

Will DeMarre Carroll play? And if he plays, will he be effective?

For what it's worth, he seems to think he'll be out there.

Luckily the injury was to his non-shooting wrist, so if he does get on the floor, he'll have that going for him. It still may affect his ability to handle the ball and/or defend. After playing just 26 regular season games, he's made up for a lack of foot speed with pure hustle and active hands. Taking one of those hands away is not ideal.

2. For Dwyane is the Moon...

For all the bluster about Wade being terrifying (ask Purple Shirt Man), he's only been a plus player once this series. Before he dragged his team back into the game in the fourth quarter of Game 5, he was nearly invisible. It's that confidence in his ability to drag a team back that scares Raptors fans, and I'm sympathetic to that. If Wade comes out early, guns blazing, he'll be the key to the game. If he waits until the end to try and win things again, well, I think the Raptors should see if there are Ramada suites available in Cleveland.

In Miami's 6 playoffs losses this season, Wade is -30 (including -19 in Game 5 vs Toronto). In their 6 playoff wins, he's +65. If you wanted a telling stat, there you have it.

3. ...And Kyle is the Sun

Even when he doesn't shoot well, Kyle Lowry is the engine that takes this Toronto team from their floor to their ceiling. He did it versus Indiana, and he's doing it again against Miami. When he's wreaking havoc on the floor, the Heat simply can't hang. Few can. He's his own version of that three part combination we mentioned above -- talented surely, determined not to let his health slow him and experienced in that he's learned from his mistakes. He'll need to be at his best to take Toronto to the promised land.

Lowry in Toronto's 5 playoff losses: - 30

Lowry in Toronto's 7 playoff wins: +81

Arise fair sun, and kill the envious moon.

Where to Watch: Sportsnet, 8pm