Through the first 11 games of this year’s playoffs, DeMar DeRozan‘s field goal percentage of 33% was historically bad. In the Raptors’ 99-91 win against the Heat in Game 5 last night, DeRozan finished with a field goal percentage above 50 for just the second time in his playoff career.
The kid from Compton got started early and hit four of his nine first quarter shots, finishing with 10 of Toronto’s 28 points. Kyle Lowry contributed nine points of his own and even knocked two threes. The Raptors stretched their lead out to ten by the end of the quarter and led Miami 23-8 at one in the period. The Heat had tremendous troubles on offense and finished with 18 points on 27% from the field. Bismack Biyombo‘s defensive energy was a huge source of those issues, and he had three blocks and two steals in ten minutes of action. Dwyane Wade was the only player to hit more than one field goal in the quarter, but also had the lowest plus/minus, -15, of any of his teammates.
Miami’s offense got back on track in the following quarter, and it started with Goran Dragic. After missing all four of his shot attempts in the first, the Dragon reeled off ten points in the second and connected on all five of his field goal attempts. Joe Johnson was the next highest scorer with five, and 11 of Miami’s 27 points came from their bench. The Raptors offense stayed hot, and Biyombo’s energy translated to the offensive end this time. He finished with eight points to lead Toronto, and Lowry had seven on 3/5 shooting; DeRozan missed both of his shots. Toronto held a ten-point lead at the break.
DeRozan quickly got back on track and accounted for 11 of the Raptors’ 20 third quarter points. Outside of him, Toronto shot 4/14 and K-Low was just 1/7 after shooting surprisingly well in the first half. Miami wasn’t able to capitalize on Toronto’s offensive struggles because they were struggling even worse. They missed 15 shots in the period, including six from three-point range, and finished at 21% overall. Wade was the leading scorer with seven and the Heat only tallied 17 in the frame, allowing the Raptors to stretch their lead to 13.
In the fourth quarter, it was worth watching to see if Toronto could come up clutch on offense. And Miami was able to give them quite the scare. Josh Richardson, the rookie from Tennessee, put on a shooting clinic that scared the Raptors more than anything else. He was 3/5 from downtown and recorded nine of Miami’s 29 points. Wade and Johnson got hot, too, and scored eight and seven, respectively, on 6/11 combined shooting; the Heat shot 56% as a team. With the game on the line, the ball was handed to DeRozan, and he did what he does best: attack the basket and draw fouls. He took a relentless pounding in the quarter, but attempted nine foul shots and connected on every single one. He finished with 13. Lowry finished with seven despite going 3/9, and Toronto reclaimed the series lead after shooting 35% in the fourth.
DeRozan was the game’s leading scorer with 34 points and did so on 11/22 from the field and 11/11 from the free throw line. Lowry’s 25 points were second on the team, and, although he shot 9/25, his plus/minus was a game-high at +25. The Heat’s leading scorer was DWade with 20, and Richardson had 13 off the bench.
Toronto can clinch the series on Friday, May 13, in Toronto. Tip-off is at 8:00 PM EST.