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Playoff Journal, May 6
by Larry Ness - 05/06/2016
Playoff Journal (May 6)
It was a “must-win” Game 2 situation for Toronto against Miami last night, just like it was in Game 2 of the Raptors’ opening round series against the Pacers. Toronto jumped out to a 29-19 first quarter lead but entered the fourth quarter trailing 65-63. The Raptors found themselves down 77-70 midway through the final quarter but found a way to send the game into OT tied at 86-all, as Lowry made some big baskets (although he shot poorly for the game, once again). Center Jonas Valanciunas, ignored for much of the first three quarters, scored 11 points and added seven rebounds in the 4th quarter plus OT. DeRozan scored 20 points but missed SIX of eight FTs (Toronto made only 14 of 26 as a team) but DeMarre Carroll had his best game of the postseason with 21 points. Valanciunas had 15 & 12 and Lowry added 18 points but made just 7 of 22 shots, including 1 of 7 threes (is now shooting 9 of 57 or 15.8% this postseason beyond the arc!).
All five of Miami’s starters scored in double digits, led but Dragic’s 20. Whiteside had 13 & 13 (is averaging 12.7 & 12.2 this postseason) but the Heat received little help from their reserves, who totaled only 13 points. Miami out-shot (49.4-to-41.9 percent) and out-rebounded (45-39) Toronto but came up on the short end of the 96-92 final. Home teams are now 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS in the semifinals, as 35 of the 52 games have stayed under (67.3%). “Zig-Zaggers” lost again last night, falling to 18-22 or minus-6.2 net games this postseason.
Two games are set for Friday, both on ESPN. The Cavs and Hawks meet in Atlanta (7:05 ET) with the Hawks down 0-2. As noted in previous journals, teams falling into an 0-2 ‘hole ‘ in a best-of-seven series, rarely come back to win. Just 17 of the 262 teams to fall behind 0-2 have come back to win a best-of-seven series in NBA history (that’s 6.5%!). Making matters even more dire for Atlanta fans is the fact that the Hawks have yet to beat the Cavs this year (regular or postseason) and Cleveland will take a 10-game playoff winning streak over Atlanta into tonight’s contest. Cleveland is favored by 2 1/2 points. The Spurs and Thunder meet in OKC at 9:35 ET, with the series tied one-all. OKC has had trouble finishing off games all season and the Thunder almost blew a four-point lead in the final 15 seconds of Game 2. However, OKC prevailed 98-97, after losing 124-92 in Game 1. The Thunder have won 11 of the last 13 meetings with the Spurs here in OKC and are 5-1 in home playoff games with the Spurs since moving from Seattle. San Antonio is favored by two points.
My next journal will be available Monday, by 12 noon ET.