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Raptors lead series 3-2
When Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan play well in the same game, the Toronto Raptors are very hard to beat. The Raptors will try to get two straight strong games out of their All-Star backcourt and close out the Eastern Conference semifinal series when they visit the Miami Heat in Game 6 on Friday.
Lowry and DeRozan combined for 19 points on 6-of-28 shooting in a Game 4 loss but pushed those numbers to 59 points on 20-of-47 in Game 5 as Toronto earned a 99-91 win in front of its home fans and grabbed a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. “Our team feeds off our energy,” Lowry told reporters of he and DeRozan. “Everything we do, they look at and they want to be a part of it. For us, it’s just about continuing to be aggressive.” The Heat are in the unenviable position of having to overcome a 3-2 deficit for the second straight series, and this time they might be doing it without a pair of starters. Hassan Whiteside (sprained knee) is likely out for Game 6 while forward Luol Deng will undergo an MRI exam on a wrist injury that knocked him out in the third quarter of Game 5.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The Heat opened as 4.5-point favorites on home court and the line was dropped slightly to -4 by Thursday morning. The total opened at 190 and hasn’t moved off that number at most books. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (63-31, 49-45 ATS, 45-48-1 O/U): Toronto is dealing with just as many injuries as Miami with starting center Jonas Valanciunas (ankle) lost for the series, DeMarre Carroll dealing with a wrist contusion that knocked him out of Game 5 and DeRozan in constant pain from a thumb injury. DeRozan went 11-of-22 from the field and 11-of-11 from the free-throw line on Wednesday despite having to tie a shoelace around his thumb during stoppages to keep down the swelling. “There’s nothing else I can do about it but just try and play through it the best way I can and just deal with it later,” DeRozan, who aggravated the injury in the fourth quarter on Wednesday and briefly retreated to the locker room, told reporters.
ABOUT THE HEAT (54-40, 50-43-1 ATS, 38-55-1 O/U): Deng was 0-of-8 from the floor in Game 5 before exiting and is averaging 7.8 points on 35.9 percent shooting series, and rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson figure to see even more minutes in Game 6 if Deng is unable to go. “We just have to stay poised and other guys have to be ready to step up,” guard Joe Johnson told reporters. “That’s how it has to be right now. It’s tough, but we have to play through it. There is no time to feel sorry for ourselves. If one man goes down, another man has to be ready.” Miami could use more from Johnson as well, with the veteran shooting 37.2 percent in the series while knocking down 1-of-17 from 3-point range.
* Raptors are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Heat are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 home games.
* Under is 8-0 in Raptors last 8 road games.
* Under is 8-2 in Heat last 10 overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is split almost down the middle for this huge Game 6, with 52 percent of wagers on the underdog Raptors. Wagers on the total are also split with 51 percent picking the Under. View full consensus data here.
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