Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors (-4.5, 191)
Series tied 0-0
The Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat both had more trouble in the first round than they intended and ended up battling through seven games to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals. Neither team will have had much time to prepare when the Raptors host the Heat in Game 1 on Tuesday.
Miami looked unstoppable in its first two games against the Charlotte Hornets in the first round before struggling through the next four only to find its form again in a 106-73 shellacking at home in Game 7 on Sunday. “Every team faces tough times; we know those times are going to come,” Heat point guard Goran Dragic told reporters. “We have so many veteran guys; they just help you find a way when you’re going through tough times. We just had to grow as a team.” The Raptors don’t need to grow as a team as much as they need to rediscover who they were during a regular season that saw them push the Cleveland Cavaliers into the final week before settling for the No. 2 seed. Toronto nearly squandered all of a 16-point, fourth-quarter lead in Game 7 against Indiana before pulling out an 89-84 triumph and is still waiting for the shots to fall for All-Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Raptors opened as five-point favorites but the line was adjusted to -4.5 by Monday morning. The total hit the board at 191.5 and was bumped down slightly to 191. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE HEAT (52-37, 47-41-1 ATS, 36-52-1 O/U): Miami star Dwyane Wade kept his team alive with a brilliant fourth quarter in Game 6 but everyone stepped up in Game 7 with the season on the line. Dragic scored 25 points in the clincher while Hassan Whiteside, who feels that the strength the team formed in the series will help them the rest of the way in the playoffs, capped a strong series with 10 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. “I really think it gave us better focus going into the second round,” Whiteside told reporters. “I remember how guys felt after we lost Game 5. Guys were down and I told them, ‘Hey, we’re going to go and steal one in Charlotte.’”
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (60-29, 47-42 ATS, 43-45-1 O/U): Toronto scrapped past the seventh-seeded Pacers despite terrible shooting slumps from Lowry (31.6 percent from the field in the series) and DeRozan (31.9), who both hit key shots down the stretch in Game 7. “My teammates count on me,” Lowry told reporters. “My teammates love me and they support me, no matter what I do. No matter what happens, they’re always going to be there, and they’re never going to doubt me.” DeRozan, who was 10-for-32 from the floor in Game 7 but knocked down the free throws at the end that sealed the win and finished 9-of-9 from the line, should be glad to see Miami, against which he averaged 29.3 points on 48.8 percent shooting in four regular season games.
* Heat are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 road games.
* Raptors are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
* Under is 6-0 in Heat last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Under is 7-1 in Raptors last 8 overall.
* Heat are 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors (-10, 213.5)
Warriors lead series 1-0
The Golden State Warriors had no problem scoring without MVP Stephen Curry in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals and put the focus on defense for most of the afternoon. The Portland Trail Blazers had no answers for the Warriors’ big bodies in the lane and on the perimeter and will try to make some changes before visiting Golden State for Game 2 on Tuesday.
The Warriors frustrated Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum with a series of bigger defenders and funneled the action into the paint, where Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green were waiting. “I just told the guys that we got to come out with a defensive mindset and that’s pretty much it,” Green said in a postgame interview. “I think we can pretty much just stay solid and get good stuff on the offensive end, but against this team, we just got to come out with a defensive mindset when Steph’s not out there.” The Trail Blazers fell behind by 20 points in the first quarter and never managed to work their way back into the game before falling 118-106. “Certainly wasn’t the start we wanted,” Portland head coach Terry Stotts told reporters. “It was disappointing to get off to such a poor start. Our offense, we had trouble scoring. Their defense got into us. It was just — we struggled at both ends, and probably more so on the offensive end, which fed into their defense.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The spread for this one opened up at -9.5 in favor of the Warriors and was bet up to -10 by late Sunday night. The total began at 213.5 and, up until this point, hasn’t moved. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (48-41, 47-42 ATS, 47-42 O/U): Portland got a break in the first round when Los Angeles Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin went down in Game 4 and was hoping to get a jump on the Warriors before a possible return from Curry (knee) later in the series. “We got beat pretty soundly in Game 1 against the Clippers and we made some adjustments, we played a little bit better and got better as the series went along, and we need to do the same thing,” Stotts said. “So we’ll watch the video, see what we can come up with for Game 2. But there’s no question that we have to play better and learn from Game 1 like we did with the Clippers.” Lillard finished with 30 points but struggled to 8-of-26 from the field while McCollum managed 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (78-10, 50-36-2, 47-40-1 O/U): Klay Thompson buried seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 37 points and Green took care of almost everything else while piling up 23 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, three blocks and a steal in 37 minutes. “I just want to play as myself and to my strengths,” Thompson told reporters. “I don’t have the handle and creativity that (Curry) does, so I’ve got to get it differently. I’ve got to use my teammates. These guys set great screens and I got in a great rhythm.” Thompson is 21-of-36 from 3-point range in the last three games – becoming the first player in NBA history with at least seven 3-pointers in three straight playoff games – and spent plenty of time chasing Lillard around on Sunday in a solid defensive performance.
* Trail Blazers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Conference Semifinals games.
* Warriors are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
* Over is 7-0 in Trail Blazers last 7 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Over is 7-0 in Warriors last 7 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Over is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings.
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