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Playoff Journal, May 4

   by Larry Ness - 05/04/2016

Playoff Journal (May 4)

The last of the four semifinal series got underway last night and once again, the Toronto Raptors find themselves “behind the eight-ball.” Toronto made up a six-point deficit in the last 20 seconds of regulation (capped by Lowry’s half-court three-pointer at the buzzer), but couldn’t carry that positive mojo into the OT period. The Raptors went scoreless through the first 3:46 of the extra period and got outscored 12-6 in a 102-96 Miami win. Lowry’s three-point ‘miracle’ was his ONLY long-distance make of the game (1 of 7), as he shot 3 of 13 from the floor. He’s now shooting 30.6 percent in the postseason (13.0 PPG, down from 21.2 in the regular season), including making just 8 of 50 (16.0%) three-pointers. DeRozan scored 22 points but made only 9 of 22 (now shooting 33.1% in the playoffs). Can Toronto possibly advance if their two star guards continue to shoot this poorly? The Heat saw four of their five starters reach double digits, with only Whiteside (9) falling short. However, he had 17 rebounds, upping his playoff average to 12.1 through eight games (he’s averaging 12.6 PPG). Dragic (26) and Wade (24) led the way for Miami.

The Warriors jumped on the Blazers early in Game 1, cruising to a 118-106 win. However, it was the Blazers who came out strong in Game 2 and Portland took an 87-76 lead into the fourth quarter. Yes, the Warriors didn’t take their first lead of the game until 5:33 was left but in the end, Golden St outscored Portland 34-12 in the final period to win AND cover, 110-99. Lillard (25) and McCollum (22) played better than in Game 1 but that duo can’t match the Warriors’ depth. Bogut was the lone starter not to reach double digits, as Thompson (27 points) and Green (17-14-7) led the way. Iquodala added 15 points off the bench.The Warriors won their sixth straight home game over the Blazers (all wins by double digits) and since the start of the 2003-04 season, are 21-5 in Oakland against Portland.

Home teams stand at 4-2 SU and ATS in this second round, with three games going over and three going under. There have been 50 playoff games so far, with home teams going 34-16 (.680) and 29-21 ATS (58.0%). Thirty-four of the 50 have stayed under (68.0%). Just one game on tap tonight, as the Hawks and Cavs meet in Cleveland for Game 2 at 8:05 ET on TNT. Cleveland built an 18-point lead in the second half of Game 1 but Al Horford’s basket at the 8:00-minute mark of the fourth quarter put the Hawks up 80-79. J.R.. Smith’s three-pointer with 4:05 remaining in the game put the Cavs ahead for good and sparked a game-ending 17-5 run. The final was 104-93, as the Cavs’ won a NINTH straight postseason game over the Hawks. The Cavs are favored by 7 1/2 points in Game 2.

Thursday’s journal by 12 noon ET.

Good luck...Larry

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