NBA Playoff Game Thoughts & Matchup Comparison
NBA Playoff Game Odds
By Dan Favale
Toronto Raptors (-4.5) vs. Miami Heat (+4.5)
The Tornonto Raptors are entering a have to win Game 2 against the Miami Heat after dropping Game 1. This line seems to bank on one of two things: First, that at least one of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry will get going. And second, that the Raptors won’t squander two consecutive contests at home. Doing so would be catastrophic, and it rarely happens to the better seed.
But it’s so tough to believe in Toronto at this point, even at home. DeRozan and Lowry have been absolutely awful, and head coach Dwane Casey’s decision to combat Miami’s small ball lineups, by swapping out Patrick Patterson for Norman Powell in the starting five, didn’t yield measurable dividends in Game 1. To the contrary, the Raptors struggled on offense as much as ever.
Giving more minutes to the Cory Joseph and Lowry backcourt could help the Raptors ignite some sort of momentum. That would entail cutting into DeRozan’s minutes, an unsettling maneuver given his All-Star status. But desperate times call for exceptional measures, and Toronto needs to tweak its approach by whatever means necessary.
Which begs the question: Will the Raptors make the necessary adaptations? And if they do, their success is still prided on the improved performance of Lowry. Will he regain his mojo?
All of this, plus their sorry showing in the first round against the Indiana Pacers, makes it impossible to invest in the Raptors’ spread. Maybe they win, and maybe it’s decisvely. But until they nab that decisive win, we must treat them like the suboptimal playoff team that they are. And, in turn, we must believe they are more likely to lose or just edge out the Heat than they are to win by five or more points.
The Pick: Heat (+4.5)
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