Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers (-2, 194.5)
Raptors lead series 3-2
Toronto shooting guard DeMar DeRozan emerged from his playoff hibernation in the Game 5 victory and will attempt to help the Raptors clinch the best-of-7 series when they visit the Indiana Pacers on Friday. DeRozan set a personal best for the postseason with 34 points in the 102-99 road win to give the Raptors a 3-2 series lead.
DeRozan shot just 29.6 percent over the first four games but rediscovered his All-Star form with the stellar effort. “It’s all about patience,” DeRozan told reporters. “You can’t get flustered, you can’t get frustrated. You’ve got to stay the course. That’s what we’re going to continue to do.” Indiana faces elimination after letting a 17-point lead get away in Game 5 and helped Toronto’s comeback bid by scoring just nine fourth-quarter points. “Once again, we failed to live up to that moment,” All-Star forward Paul George told reporters. “Nine points in the fourth. It’s the only thing to look at – nine points in the fourth.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, ESPNews, TSN (Toronto), FSN Indiana
LINE HISTORY: The Pacers opened as 2.5-point favorites but the public hit the Raptors and the books were forced to bring the line down to -2. The total hit the board at 196 but was dropped to 194.5 by Thursday afternoon. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (59-28, 47-40 ATS, 43-43-1 O/U): DeRozan averaged just 13.3 points over the first four games of the series before his breakout game but backcourt mate Kyle Lowry still can’t find the mark. Lowry, the All-Star point guard, went 3-for-11 in Game 5 to drop his series shooting percentage to 31.4 and he has shot below 40 percent in each of the five contests. Backup center Bismack Biyombo was a big-time standout in Game 5 with 10 points and 16 rebounds and he is averaging nine boards in the series.
ABOUT THE PACERS (47-40, 44-42-1 ATS, 38-49 O/U): George is averaging 28.8 points in the series after enjoying another superb game with 39 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in Game 5 and was again trying to suppress frustration with some of his teammates. “I think our guys individually know, individually, that they have to bring it,” George told reporters. “I’m not about putting guys down or putting teammates down, but individually everybody has to bring it.” Shooting guard Monta Ellis is one guy Indiana could use a boost from as he has scored eight or fewer points in each of the past three games while shooting 9-of-26 from the field.
* Raptors are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 Conference Quarterfinals games.
* Pacers are 17-4 ATS in their last 21 games playing on 2 days rest.
* Under is 7-1 in Raptors last 8 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Under is 8-2 in Pacers last 10 home games.
* Underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets (-1.5, 190.5)
Hornets lead series 3-2
The Charlotte Hornets have won three straight games and took full control of the their first-round series against the fourth-seeded Miami Heat by stealing a win on the road on Wednesday. The Hornets have a chance to close out the series and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals when they host the Heat in Game 6 on Friday.
Charlotte leaned on its backcourt to even the series in Game 4 with a combined 55 points from Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin but got only 25 points from the two in Game 5 while the frontcourt took control. Courtney Lee was having the worst night of the backcourt quartet before hitting the biggest shot of the game – a 3-pointer with 25.2 seconds left that put the Hornets in front for good. “I was wide open so I just let it fly,” Lee told reporters. “If I had to draw it up, I’ll take shooting 1-for-8 before I knock down a big shot any day.” The Heat will leave Miami with the same feelings they had after leaving Charlotte following Game 4 as they question the refereeing but the NBA said Thursday that a non-foul on Dwyane Wade with 2.6 seconds left was the correct call.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Sun (Miami)
LINE HISTORY: The Hornets have won three games in a row to take the lead in this series against the Heat and they opened as one-point favorites – the line was bumped slightly to -1.5. The total opened at 192.5 and was dropped a full two points to 190.5. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE HEAT (50-37, 45-41-1 ATS, 36-50-1 O/U): Miami was dismayed by the whistles blown against them in Game 4 and subtly questioned the disparity in personal foul calls after the game but were more open about things after Game 5. Wade told reporters that he was fouled on the layup attempt that would have tied the game in the final seconds and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, took to Twitter to advocate for fining the refs. “It hurts losing at home,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra told reporters. “But welcome to the playoffs. The playoffs just started now. One team beat somebody on the road. Now it gets real. Now we just have to collect ourselves, as raw as it feels right now. We have 48 hours to regroup and get ready for a heck of a battle in Game 6.”
ABOUT THE HORNETS (51-36, 45-41-1 ATS, 42-43-2 O/U): Charlotte doesn’t know what it is going to get out of forward Marvin Williams from game-to-game in the playoffs, but he stepped up with a team-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and three steals in Game 5. The Hornets changed up the lineup before Game 3 and pushed Al Jefferson into a starting role with fellow center Frank Kaminsky, leaving Williams to do damage on the wing against smaller defenders. Williams went scoreless in 37 minutes in Game 4 and was a combined 1-of-17 in the first two games of the series but put together solid performances in two of the last three to help support Walker, Lin and Lee.
* Heat are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 road games.
* Home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
* Under is 5-0 in Heat last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Over is 4-1 in Hornets last 5 Friday games.
Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (-10, 198)
Trail Blazers lead series 3-2
The Los Angeles Clippers put together a strong effort without their injured superstars but in the end did not have enough to overcome the Portland Trail Blazers at home in Game 5. The Clippers will try to muster up enough to extend the series when they visit the Trail Blazers in a potential elimination Game 6 on Friday.
Los Angeles lost All-Star point guard Chris Paul (broken hand) and star forward Blake Griffin (quad) for the rest of the postseason in a Game 4 loss and could not find enough offense late to avoid a 108-98 loss at home in Game 5. “(The players) heard the same thing that (the media) said, you know, for 48 hours,” Doc Rivers said. “’Hard game, can they win?’ So, I liked the emotion, but they didn’t sustain it. Like, the pace we played at in the first half was terrific, we just couldn’t sustain the pace.” Portland weathered the early emotional storm from the Clippers and found its stride offensively in the second half, giving itself a chance to close out the series at home. “We want to close the series out,” guard C.J. McCollum told reporters. “We’ve got a unique opportunity here to play an elimination game at home, and we want to make sure we take full advantage of it.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), KGW (Portland)
LINE HISTORY: The Blazers opened as 10-point favorites at home in an elimination game and the line has yet to move. The total opened at 197.5 and has also been stationary. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (55-32, 42-42-3 ATS, 35-52 O/U): Future Hall of Famer and former NBA champion Paul Pierce started in place of Griffin and went scoreless in 10 minutes while Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford started in place of Paul in Game 5 and went 6-of-23 from the floor in 44 minutes. “I was a little winded,” Crawford told reporters. “But what can you do at this point? You have to find a way.” Austin Rivers moved into the starting lineup as well but it was J.J. Redick managing a team-high 19 points in the loss while Jeff Green came off the bench to add 17 points in 37 minutes.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (47-40, 47-40 ATS, 45-42 O/U): Portland star guard Damian Lillard was 1-of-10 from the floor in the first three quarters on Wednesday before exploding for 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the final period to help put the game away. “I’ve always been able to put the first three quarters behind me and come up big when my team has needed it,” said Lillard. “All my teammates throughout the game, they just kept saying, ‘keep shooting, stay with it, stay aggressive, keep your mind right.’ I would have been doing that all along, but it felt good to have that encouragement and that support. … I just had to be patient.” Lillard finished with 22 points in the win while McCollum matched his series high with 27.
* Clippers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
* Trail Blazers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 1 days rest.
* Under is 9-1 in Clippers last 10 games following a double-digit loss at home.
* Under is 6-1 in Trail Blazers last 7 overall.
* Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.