MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s do or die time for the Miami Heat when they take on the Toronto Raptors Friday night in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series.READ MORE: Dept. Of Health Miami-Dade Opens COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments For Next Week
Two Raptors that are sure to cause them problems are Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
Lowry and DeRozan combined for 19 points on 6-of-28 shooting in a Game 4 loss but pushed those numbers to 59 points on 20-of-47 in Game 5 as Toronto earned a 99-91 win in front of its home fans and grabbed a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“Our team feeds off our energy,” Lowry said of he and DeRozan. “Everything we do, they look at and they want to be a part of it. For us, it’s just about continuing to be aggressive.”
The Heat are in the unenviable position of having to overcome a 3-2 deficit for the second straight series, and this time they might be doing it without a pair of starters. Hassan Whiteside (sprained knee) is likely out for Game 6 while forward Luol Deng will undergo an MRI exam on a wrist injury that knocked him out in the third quarter of Game 5.
Toronto is dealing with just as many injuries as Miami with starting center Jonas Valanciunas (ankle) lost for the series, DeMarre Carroll dealing with a wrist contusion that knocked him out of Game 5 and DeRozan in constant pain from a thumb injury. DeRozan went 11-of-22 from the field and 11-of-11 from the free-throw line on Wednesday despite having to tie a shoelace around his thumb during stoppages to keep down the swelling.
“There’s nothing else I can do about it but just try and play through it the best way I can and just deal with it later,” DeRozan, who aggravated the injury in the fourth quarter on Wednesday and briefly retreated to the locker room, told reporters.
Deng was 0-of-8 from the floor in Game 5 before exiting and is averaging 7.8 points on 35.9 percent shooting series, and rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson figure to see even more minutes in Game 6 if Deng is unable to go.READ MORE: One Dead In Fort Lauderdale Shooting
“We just have to stay poised and other guys have to be ready to step up,” guard Joe Johnson told reporters. “That’s how it has to be right now. It’s tough, but we have to play through it. There is no time to feel sorry for ourselves. If one man goes down, another man has to be ready.”
Miami could use more from Johnson as well, with the veteran shooting 37.2 percent in the series while knocking down 1-of-17 from 3-point range.
1. The Raptors are trying to reach the conference finals for the first time in franchise history.
2. Heat G Dwyane Wade scored a team-high 20 points in Game 5 and is averaging 25.8 points in the series.
3. Toronto C Bismack Biyombo is averaging 11.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and three blocks in two games while starting in place of Valanciunas.
PREDICTION: Heat 96, Raptors 93MORE NEWS: Miami Weather: Hot & Humid With Scattered Afternoon Storms, Mostly Sunny Weekend
By SportsDirect Inc.