NBA Playoff Preview: Miami at Toronto, Game 1
On Tuesday night, the Miami Heat visit the Toronto Raptors to open their Eastern Conference semifinal round. The Raptors eliminated the pesky Indiana Pacers in a seven-game slugfest, while the Heat were pushed to the limit by a young, hungry Charlotte team. The Raptors won three of the four meetings between the two teams during the regular season, but the teams have never met in the playoffs. Find out the latest NBA odds here.
NBA Playoff Preview: Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors, Game 1
When: Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 8:00pm Eastern time
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
Radio: Sportsnet 590 AM The Fan Toronto
Live Stream: NBA-Stream.com
NBA Odds: TBA
Why should you bet on Miami?
The Heat put a defensive stranglehold on the Hornets in the first round, keeping them to just 40.4% on defended shots that were taken from five feet away or closer. Hassan Whiteside was a huge part of that, shutting down the pick and roll and forcing the Hornets to play small ball. When the Heat pressures the ball, focuses on the drive and lets the people waiting for a dish try their best from the outside, they do the best job on offense. Kyle Lowry continues to have elbow problems, and if that keeps on limiting his shooting, that will put more of a burden on DeRozan.
Why should you put your money on the Raptors?
The team that wins the game inside will win the series. While Hassan Whiteside pretty much had his way in the Charlotte series, he will find the interior much more challenging in this series. Toronto averages 23 points per game when they head to the rim, the best in the NBA. The Pacers were able to clog the middle a bit, forcing DeRozan to settle for pull-up jumpers and stay off the free throw game. DeRozan needs to get to the rim, but if he does (and he did during the regular season, averaging 29.3 points per game in the four meetings, including 38 in the most recent one), the Raptors should be able to dictate the offensive flow.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Toronto struggled to assert themselves in the first round until Games 5 and 7. I don’t think they will make that mistake again in the semifinals. I’m predicting a 104-101 Raptor win.