TORONTO (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – Few NBA playoff series’ have been as evenly matched as the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors.
Of the four games played so far in the series, three have required more than 48 minutes.
The teams will try to decide things in the allotted amount of time when the series, which is knotted at two wins apiece, shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.
Dwyane Wade has been the best player in the series and was at it again with 30 points on 13-of-24 shooting in a 94-87 overtime win on Monday – the third overtime game in the series.
“I worked my tail off to get my body to the point where I can play at an elite level and not worry about my age or anything,” Wade told reporters after logging 39 minutes in Game 4. “I know when I’m healthy I can play this game as good as anybody.”
Wade’s success and the strong play of Heat point guard Goran Dragic in the series has been in direct contrast to Toronto’s All-Star backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
DeRozan slumped to nine points on 4-of-17 shooting in Game 4 and is shooting 35 percent in the series while Lowry went 2-of-11 in the loss before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE HEAT: Miami went 1-of-15 from 3-point range in Game 4 and trailed by nine points midway through the fourth quarter before Wade brought the team back and forced overtime on a driving layup with 12.6 seconds left.
The Heat were playing without center Hassan Whiteside (knee) and had only three players reach double figures in scoring in an inconsistent offensive performance outside of Wade.
“I’m shocked, at this point, that we haven’t been able to score 100 points, and that’s not at all to discredit Toronto,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “It’s actually the opposite. We have not been able to consistently get to our game.”
ABOUT THE RAPTORS: Lowry appeared to break out of a postseason-long slump with a 33-point effort in Game 3 but struggled to find his shot again in Game 4.
DeRozan injured his thumb in Game 2 and was clearly off with his shot in the last two contests, though he was reluctant to place all of the blame for his struggles on the injury.
“It’s the feeling of being uncomfortable and not doing the things that you normally do with gripping the ball and everything,” DeRozan told reporters. “It’s nothing I’ll ever make an excuse about, but like I said, I know for sure I’m not going to shoot like I did (Monday in our) next game. I know that for a fact.”
- Wade needs 32 points to tie Hakeem Olajuwon (3,755) for 12th on the all-time postseason scoring list.
- Toronto C Bismack Biyombo started Game 4 in place of Jonas Valanciunas (ankle) and contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds.
- Whiteside will not make the trip for Game 5 as he continues to receive treatment for his sprained MCL.
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