It is desperation time for the Miami Heat. No doubt about it. Miami is down 3-2 to the Raptors and is facing elimination once again in the playoffs. They fought off Charlotte, but this is a different monster in Toronto that may have just a little bit more than the Heat at this point.
What is it going to take for the Heat to stave off elimination again? BIG performances from Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, and Goran Dragic. Can they do it? So far, they have been unsuccessful. The Heat were beaten up early in game 6 and were not able to fully recover from their early 20-point deficit. They were able to get within 1 in the 4th quarter, but the slow start really hurt them. The Raptors on the other hand, had their first game in which Lowry and DeRozan both played well, which bodes well for the team should they advance.
This series has been a slug fest with both teams losing their starting centers and now each team’s best perimeter defender is hampered by a wrist injury, although Deng and Carroll both hope to play tonight. Let’s keep our fingers crossed in hopes that no one else goes down for either team.
The key for Miami to win tonight is to keep Biyombo and Patterson off the glass, get some offense from someone not name Wade, and move the damn ball. In the last series, the Heat moved the ball and missed shots/turned the ball over. In this series, the Heat don’t move the ball and turn the ball over even more. Oh yes, and they miss shots because they can’t get good ones due to said lack of ball movement. Moving the ball will help the Heat to put more pressure on the Raptors while also avoiding the strong hedges that Toronto is using on the pick & roll. Speaking of which, Miami’s pick and rolls are not working at all because the Raptors are going under screens and then hedging hard to protect against the drive. Miami needs to get players moving along with the ball, which will open up driving lanes without having to set picks.
Miami could have won the last game had they kept Biyombo off the glass. He drew so many loose ball fouls and shooting fouls because of the Heat’s lack of physicality underneath. The only guy I can see matching him with strength is Udonis Haslem, who should get a lot of minutes tonight instead of McRoberts in my opinion. The Heat need to also keep Patterson of the glass, but that will be a little easier than Biyombo.
Wade was the Heat’s leading scorer last game, but most of his points came in the fourth quarter. We all know he can make plays late, but that does not mean that Miami should just grind it out until that point. They need Dragic and Johnson to produce! Johnson can score inside on whoever Toronto puts on him and Dragic is going to have to start attacking again or find a way to get around those screen hedges. My suggestion is to go around the pick and move the ball to the wing, therefore eliminating the hedger from the play. Quick ball movement should create a 3-on-2 or 2-on-1 opportunity inside.
It is a tall order, but I believe the Heat can still pull this one out. GO HEAT!