Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat (-5.5, 189)
Raptors lead series 2-1
Kyle Lowry found his shooting stroke and the Toronto Raptors jumped back into the driver’s seat in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Lowry scored 29 of his 33 points in the second half of Game 3 and will try to put together two solid games in a row when the Raptors visit the Miami Heat for Game 4 on Monday.
Lowry was shooting 30.8 percent through the first nine postseason games and went 2-of-14 from 3-point range in the first two games of the semifinals before breaking out with five 3-pointers in the second half on Saturday. “I’ve got a guy to my left, he’s probably my biggest supporter, and backbone to me right now,” Lowry told reporters in reference to All-Star teammate DeMar DeRozan. “And he said ‘Just keep going.’ He’s always going to ride or die with the decisions I make, and my teammates too. So just go out there and take the shots I’ve taken all year.” The Heat decided to ride or die with Dwyane Wade at the end of Game 3 and left Goran Dragic, who led the team in scoring in the first two games of the series, on the bench down the stretch. Wade matched Lowry with 29 of his game-high 38 points in the second half but Joe Johnson missed a tying 3-point attempt in the final seconds and the Raptors sealed the 95-91 win at the free-throw line.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Heat opened as 5.5-point favorites and the line hasn’t move as of Sunday afternoon. The total opened at 188.5 and was bet up slightly to 189. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (62-30, 48-44 ATS, 44-47-1 O/U): Toronto hung around in Game 1 and earned an overtime win in Game 2 despite Lowry’s struggles in part because center Jonas Valanciunas controlled the middle with a pair of double-doubles. The 7-0 Lithuanian added 16 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes in Game 2 before leaving with a sprained ankle and is considered day-to-day. “We may not look pretty, but we have gritty guys, they’re going to play hard and compete, that’s something that we have as an identity,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “It may not be the way everybody wants it to be done, but you’ve got a bunch of competitors in there. Now our thing is, we’ve been all year long, next man up, whoever that may be and (Saturday) it was Kyle and he got the lid off the bucket.”
ABOUT THE HEAT (53-39, 49-42-1 ATS, 37-54-1 O/U): Miami center Hassan Whiteside lasted only six minutes into Game 3 before going down with a right knee injury, and his status for the rest of the series is up in the air. The centers being out of the game opened things for the perimeter players but Dragic, whose 3-pointer in Game 2 forced overtime, was left on the bench after a late Heat timeout that resulted in Johnson’s missed 3-pointer. “It’s not fun,” Dragic said. “Of course, I would like to be (in the game), but that’s a coaching decision, so I respect it. It is what it is.”
* Raptors are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
* Heat are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games.
* Under is 7-0 in Raptors last 7 road games.
* Under is 7-1 in Heat last 8 overall.
Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers (+5, 214.5)
Warriors lead series 2-1
The Portland Trail Blazers are back in the series after a win in Game 3 and look like a different team in front of their home fans. The Trail Blazers will try to even the Western Conference semifinals at two wins apiece when they host the top-seeded Golden State Warriors in Game 4 on Monday.
The availability of reigning MVP Stephen Curry has been looming over the entire series, and the star guard is inching closer to a return. Curry (knee sprain) played 2-on-2 before Game 3 but was on the bench in street clothes when the game started and had to watch Portland guard Damian Lillard bury deep 3-pointers and spark his team to victory while rallying his teammates and the home fans. “I didn’t think it was on me to go win the game or anything, but I did think it was my job to come out and be aggressive from the start,” Lillard told reporters. “A lot of times, the team will go as I go. That goes for more than just scoring the ball, that means how focused I am, how accountable I’m holding myself.” The Trail Blazers are undefeated at home during the playoffs and went 17-of-30 from 3-point range in the 120-108 victory.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Warriors opened as 4.5-point favorites on the road for this critical Game 4 matchup – by Sunday afternoon the line had been bet up to Warriors -5. The total opened at 214 and has been steady since its release. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (79-11, 51-37-2 ATS, 48-41-1 O/U): Golden State grabbed a 28-22 lead after the first quarter of Game 3 but fell off the pace when Draymond Green and Klay Thompson went to the bench to begin the second and never managed to get back over the hump. “We didn’t keep that same edge,” Thompson told reporters. “We got away from our game plan at times, especially on the offensive end, too many one- or two-pass shots. We’ve got to wear these guys down with five more passes and make those guys work out there playing big minutes, but we’ll make the adjustment Monday.” Curry will ramp up his practice work on Sunday and could be available in some capacity on Monday.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (49-42, 48-43 ATS, 48-43 O/U): Portland got a huge boost on Saturday from small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who went 8-of-9 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, to give Lillard some much-needed scoring support. “He had 23 points on nine shots, he shot it with confidence,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts told reporters of Aminu. “I thought defensively, he was solid. You’ve got to be able to score against Golden State. If you don’t score, they’re such an explosive offensive team that you’ve got to be able to score and I liked his aggressiveness a couple times on drives to the basket and obviously going 4 for 5 from three.” Aminu is averaging 17.3 points on 59.4 percent shooting in the series.
* Warriors are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
* Trail Blazers are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
* Under is 7-1 in Warriors last 8 road games.
* Over is 9-0 in Trail Blazers last 9 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
* Over is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings.
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