Posted on May 14, 2016 by Travis Pulver
With LeBron James on the roster, the Miami Heat did not face too many elimination games. They have already faced three this postseason, two against the Charlotte Hornets in the first round and now one against the Raptors. After beating the Raptors 103-91 Friday night, they get to face another elimination game Sunday in Toronto.
To avoid being eliminated, they needed to have two things in Game Six–Dwyane Wade had to play well, and someone else needed to step up. Wade did his part with 22 points on the night. That “someone else” ended up being Goran Dragic, who chipped in 30 points, a new career postseason high.
“Goran had a big game for us,” Wade said during a courtside interview. “He really was on the attack all night. I said we needed somebody to have a special game, and he did that for us.”
Dragic was quick to give credit Justice Winslow after the game. When asked about his performance his response was pretty simple—he wasn’t ready to go home yet.
“I didn’t want to go home to Europe,” Dragic said. “Still want to be here.”
Toronto had hoped to close out the series in Miami so they could start making plans to travel to Cleveland for the conference finals. On most nights, if they got 59 points from Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan they would win. However, they got only a little help from the rest of the roster. The other three starters only chipped in 17 points, and the bench had just 15.
“We came here to try to win the game,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told the media. “We didn’t come here with a seven-game series in mind. It’s been a great series, they’re a championship-caliber team, well-coached team, but we came in here to try to win the game. We didn’t come in here wanting a Game 7.”
The game stayed close in the first period, but the Heat started to pool away in the second en route to a 53-44 lead at the end of the first half. Toronto played a much tougher game in the second half, but it wasn’t enough. It was close, but they were still outscored 50-47.
The Raptors would have loved to clinch their first trip to the conference finals in Miami, but don’t mind doing it in front of the home crowd in Game Seven.
“We played all year to get 56 wins and be the No. 2 seed in the East and get home court in this type of situation,” Lowry said after the game. “It’s going to be fun. Game 7, two versus three, get an opportunity to play on one of the biggest stages there is.”
The winner will go onto the conference finals to meet the Cleveland Cavaliers who have been patiently awaiting an opponent since they completed a sweep of the Atlanta Hawks with a one-point win last Sunday.
Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals will be on Tuesday in Cleveland.