MIAMI (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Heat will have to dig deep to earn a split in their first two home games of the Eastern Conference semifinals.READ MORE: Health Care Industry Gets Pass On 'Passports'
Kyle Lowry found his shooting stroke and the Toronto Raptors jumped back into the driver’s seat in the series on Saturday.
Lowry scored 29 of his 33 points in the second half of Game 3 and will try to put together two solid games in a row when the Raptors visit the Miami Heat for Game 4 on Monday.
Lowry was shooting 30.8 percent through the first nine postseason games and went 2-of-14 from 3-point rangein the first two games of the semifinals before breaking out with five 3-pointers in the second half on Saturday.
“I’ve got a guy to my left, he’s probably my biggest supporter, and backbone to me right now,” Lowry said in reference to All-Star teammate DeMar DeRozan. “And he said ‘Just keep going.’ He’s always going to ride or die with the decisions I make, and my teammates too. So just go out there and take the shots I’ve taken all year.”
The Heat decided to ride or die with Dwyane Wade at the end of Game 3 and left Goran Dragic, who led the team in scoring in the first two games of the series, on the bench down the stretch.
Wade matched Lowry with 29 of his game-high 38 points in the second half but Joe Johnson missed a tying 3-point attempt in the final seconds and the Raptors sealed the 95-91 win at the free-throw line.
Toronto hung around in Game 1 and earned an overtime win in Game 2 despite Lowry’s struggles in part because center Jonas Valanciunas controlled the middle with a pair of double-doubles. The 7-0 Lithuanian added 16 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes in Game 2 before leaving with a sprained ankle and will miss the remainder of the series.READ MORE: Masks Will Be Optional Next School Year In Miami-Dade
“We can’t change schematically or philosophically what we do, so that’s not going to change,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said in reference to the loss of Valanciunas. “It doesn’t matter who starts – that person is going to have to come in and fill the role of screening, rebounding, defending his position and adding to the team.”
Miami center Hassan Whiteside lasted only six minutes into Game 3 before going down with a right knee injury, and his status is officially considered day-to-day after an MRI revealed a sprained MCL. He will not be playing in Game 4.
The centers being out of the game opened things for the perimeter players but Dragic, whose 3-pointer in Game 2 forced overtime, was left on the bench after a late Heat timeout that resulted in Johnson’s missed 3-pointer.
“It’s not fun,” Dragic said. “Of course, I would like to be (in the game), but that’s a coaching decision, so I respect it. It is what it is.”
1. Johnson is 0-for-10 from 3-point range in the series.
2. Toronto SF DeMarre Carroll went 11-fof-20 from the field in the first two games but slipped to 2-of-9 in Game 3
3. Miami committed 10 turnovers in Game 3 after totaling 41 miscues in the first two games of the series.MORE NEWS: ‘Craps, Roulette & Sports Betting’: Florida Senate Approves 30-Year Gaming Deal With Seminole Tribe
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