TORONTO, Canada (CBSMiami) — Adversity and the Miami Heat go together like pots and pans, beaches and bikinis, or cafecitos and croquetas.READ MORE: SW Miami-Dade Crash, One Dead
Another playoff series will reach seven games and another key piece of the team will be watching from the bench.
Center Hassan Whiteside’s knee will keep him out of Game 7 against the Toronto Raptors, he told ESPN reporters after the Heat’s Game 6 victory.
“I really enjoy watching them guys get blocks. Even though, unfortunately, I’m not out there to do it with them,” Whiteside said after the game. “All blocks are good blocks for the Heat.”
“You want the games to really have meaning and it doesn’t happen all the time to be part of a seven game series that’s super competitive like this,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
Spoelstra’s lineup tinkering during the time when LeBron James was on the team helped popularize the “small ball” movement that’s swept through the NBA recently.READ MORE: Presumptive Monkeypox Case In Broward County Under Investigation
Without Whiteside, Spoelstra was forced to go small again for Game 6, pairing guard Joe Johnson with Wade and Dragic, alongside Justise Winslow and Luol Deng. He used an eight-man rotation for the entire game that also included SG Tyler Johnson, opting to keep Amar’e Stoudamire and Udonis Haslem off the floor.
Going small came up big for the team.
“We came out from the first minute really aggressive, just try to attack the paint and space the floor,” said Heat guard Goran Dragic. “And I think so, we did an amazing job.”
ICYMI: Your @MiamiHEAT have forced another Game 7!
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 14, 2016
“Our guys love this,” Spoelstra said before Game 6. “Our guys love this kind of competition.”
Dragic led the way with 30 points, his best scoring game this postseason.
While Toronto is 2-6 all-time in closeout appearances, the Heat are 6-0 in their last six elimination games.MORE NEWS: Lassiter, Taylor Lead Inter Miami Past Red Bulls 2-0
Whiteside will be reevaluated should Miami move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.