After yet another overtime game the Miami Heat were able to pull out a victory in game 4 and even the series at 2-2. For Toronto it was yet another game where their star backcourt produced an underwhelming performance. For Miami it was all about Dwayne Wade who may not be the high flyer he once was but he has proven to still be amongst the best players in the league. The series now shifts to Toronto for a critical game 5.
Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry are both All-Star caliber players but neither have played up to expectations in this series. Lowry did a good job distributing in game 4 with 9 assists and he hit the boards with 7 rebounds. However he shot only 2-11 from the field including 0-6 from the three-point line. He was inconsistent throughout and fouled out towards the end of the 4th quarter. Derozan had 9 points on 4-16 shooting when he was benched in favor of Cory Joseph and Terrence Ross for a long stretch of the fourth quarter. He spent most of that 4th quarter sulking on the bench even when his team was going on a run. He returned to the game to miss a shot badly and continue what has been a dismal series for Derozan, a series that may have cost him some money as a free agent this summer. The Raptors had their first full game without center Jonas Valanciunas who will miss the rest of the series with an injury. He is replaced by Bismark Biyombo who was fantastic with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and countless other altered shots. Demarre Carrol had 13 points in a starting role. Ross and Joseph combined for 28 points off the bench.
The Heat have a solid core of Goran Dragic, Luol Deng, Joe Johnson, and Wade. Three of these four played over 40 minutes in game 4 with Wade playing 39 minutes. With the absence of Hassan Whiteside to a knee injury Amare Stoudemire started at Center. He split time with Josh McRoberts and Udonis Haslem. The Heat played the majority of the Overtime with a “small ball” lineup that featured rookie Justise Winslow with the core players. Wade finished with 30 points. His most impressive stretch of the night was when the Heat found themselves down 9 late in the third. He scored or assisted on their next 11 points as they rallied to tie the game when Wade drove the lane and finished with 15 seconds left. Johnson and Dragic both had 15 points. Deng had 9 points and 9 rebounds while playing terrific defense. Winslow also finished with 9.
It will be a loud Canadian crowd on Wednesday night. The Raptors will be looking to keep home court advantage. Both teams will again be without their starting centers and are likely to use smaller lineups for stretches. The Raptors need Lowry and Derozan to produce at their usual levels in order to get a win. Miami will have to keep Wade as rested as possible so he is fresh down the stretch.
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