It’s been possibly the sloppiest, most grueling series of the Playoffs, and today, it finally comes to an end. That’s right, it’s Game 7 between the Raptors and the Heat. It’s already been deemed as the most important game in Raptors history, and that’s pretty accurate. The only other time they’ve made it this far, they lost a Game 7 by one point. Both of these teams have had their ups and down over the course of this series, and they’re each battling injuries. Whoever wins will have certainly earned it, and their reward will be to face the undefeated Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
3:28 pm – We’re welcomed to the Air Canada Centre by Mike “BANG” Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Apparently it snowed earlier today in Toronto. Hopefully the shooting’s not as cold as the local weather this afternoon.
3:39 – As always, there’s a rowdy crowd of Raptors fans watching the game on a big screen outside of the arena. Meanwhile, 6’7″ Justise Winslow will be starting at center again for the Heat.
3:40 – The Raptors win the opening tip, and Game 7 is underway up in Toronto!
3:41 – DeMar DeRozan hits a jumper, giving us the first basket of the game, and putting the Raptors up 2-0.
3:42 – Goran Dragic gets into the paint and scores Miami’s first hoop, tying the game at two.
— NBA (@NBA) May 15, 2016
3:51 – We have our first time out with the score Toronto 14, Miami 9 with 5:52 left in the first quarter. In keeping with the theme of this entire series, neither team is off to a particularly blistering start.
3:55 – Dwyane Wade gets called for his second foul, and he’ll have to head to the bench, much to the delight of the fans. Before he leaves the floor, he yells at rookie Josh Richardson for blowing a defensive assignment, which contributed to Wade committing a foul. Let’s see how the Heat do with their leading scorer on the bench for awhile.
3:59 – A time out with the score Toronto 19, Miami 15 with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter.
4:02 – ESPN provides us with a montage of the Raptors Game 7 history, including the one back in 2001 where Vince Carter missed a game winner at the buzzer in their only other trip to the Semifinals. This is Toronto’s fourth Game 7, and they’re 1-2 in the previous ones they’ve played.
Today is the 4th Game 7 in Raptors team history.https://t.co/ntBxta222b
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 15, 2016
4:09 – The first quarter comes to a close with the score Toronto 25, Miami 24. If the beginning of this game is going to be any indication, it looks like we’re in for a tight battle. DeMar DeRozan already has 11 points and 5 rebounds for the Raptors.
4:13 – Terrence Ross cans a three, and the Raptors score first in the second quarter, extending their lead to 28-24.
4:14 – Dwyane Wade returns to the ball game with those two fouls of his.
4:20 – We have a time out as this game continues to be close. It’s Toronto 34, Miami 31 with 7:46 left in the first half.
4:25 – Joe Johnson has suddenly scored three straight baskets for the Heat, and it leads to a time out with the score Miami 37, Toronto 36 with 5:35 left until halftime.
Cool Joe scores 6 in a row. pic.twitter.com/sF7yI2q9QC
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 15, 2016
4:33 – We have a time out as the Raptors have built up their largest lead of the game, thanks to Patrick Patterson grabbing an offensive rebound, getting the basket, getting fouled, and hitting the free throw. The score’s Toronto 46, Miami 39 with 3:12 remaining until halftime.
4:45 – Dwyane Wade just drew a foul on Bismack Biyombo by pretending to get hit in the head, even though Biyombo didn’t even touch him. If he’s going to get called for a foul, Biyombo should at least get his moneys worth and send an an actual elbow into Wade’s dome.
4:46 – We’ve made it to halftime with the score Toronto 53, Miami 47. Kyle Lowry has 16 to lead Toronto, and DeMar DeRozan is right behind him with 15 points and and 6 rebounds, despite shooting a fairly yucky 6-17 for the half. Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade have each scored ten to lead a more balanced attack from the Heat, but they’re trailing so far, as Lowry and DeRozan have done a good job scoring enough to keep the Raptors ahead. We should be in for a great second half, with the Raptors trying to hold off the Heat. I have a feeling Dwyane Wade and Miami are going to make things difficult on the home team, so either Lowry and DeRozan are going to keep up their scoring output, or the supporting cast is going to have to step up.
4:50 – Time for today’s episode of Today in NBA Playoff History, brought to you by Basketball-Reference!
We’re going all the way back to May 15, 2013 to see the Heat finishing off the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Game 5 with a 94-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls for a 4-1 series win. LeBron James led Miami with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Dwyane Wade chipped in with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. I have a feeling he’ll need a bigger game than that if the Heat are going to finish off today’s Conference Semifinals with a win. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 26 points and 14 rebounds, and Nate Robinson had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists, but it wasn’t enough to stay alive against the Heat in one of a couple of their Playoff runs without their injured star, Derrick Rose.
5:04 – Luol Deng hits a runner, and the Heat score first in the third quarter and cut their deficit down to 53-49.
5:10 – After Joe Johnson misses a three, the Raptors get the ball up to Kyle Lowry for a layup, and we’ve got a time out as the Raptors have their biggest lead of the ball game. It’s Toronto 63, Miami 53 with 8:49 left in the third quarter. The Raptors couldn’t have scripted a better start to the second half.
5:13 – A three pointer from DeMar DeRozan has been reviewed and revealed to be a two pointer as his foot was barely on the line, so the Raptors lead diminishes to 62-53.
5:18 – Bismack Biyombo gets a layup, and things are really going the Raptors way. The fans are going wild, and the score’s Toronto 72, Miami 58 with 6:13 left in the third quarter.
5:24 – Josh McRoberts hits a little baseline jumper, and we have a time out as the Raptors don’t want the Heat to feel like they can get back into this one. The score’s Toronto 77, Miami 65 with 3:46 to go in the third quarter.
5:36 – The third quarter comes to a close with the score Toronto 86, Miami 78 after the Heat were able to get this one back down to single digits. After all the great work the Raptors did in the third, they’re still not out of the woods yet with the Heat still lingering behind them. The Heat offense remains balanced, with all five starters in double figures, while the Raptors are still relying heavily on Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, although Bismack Biyombo had a productive third quarter for Toronto.
5:40 – Kyle Lowry hits a tough jumper, scoring the first points of the fourth to get the Raptors lead up to 88-78, and to get himself up to 30 points on the afternoon.
5:43 – DeMarre Carrol knocks down a three, and it leads to a time out in a raucous Air Canada Centre. They’re riled up because the score’s Toronto 93, Miami 80 with 10:25 left in the game.
5:50 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Josh McRoberts, who has been getting frustrated by Bismack Biyombo all game long, fouls him extra hard as Biyombo goes up for another big dunk. The two square off afterwards, and are quickly separated before any big incident transpires. You could see this coming a mile away. After review, McRoberts is called for a Flagrant-1 and will remain in the game. Biyombo goes 1-2 from the free throw line, and the Raptors lead us up to 98-82.
5:58 – We have a time out with the score Toronto 102, Miami 86 with 5:41 left in the game. The Raptors have gotten the help they needed from the supporting cast here in the second half with Bismack Biyombo and DeMarre Carroll coming up with big contributions.
6:02 – Down 104-86, the Heat have decided to intentionally foul lousy free throw shooter Bismack Biyombo in an attempt to slow down the Raptors and get themselves back in the game. Biyombo misses both shots, but Patrick Patterson grabs an offensive rebound.
6:03 – Biyombo is fouled again. I hope the Raptors grab another offensive rebound if he misses his second free throw. Instead, he goes 2-2 this time, and the Raptors lead, 106-86.
6:06 – Kyle Lowry nails a three! The Heat call a time out with the score, Toronto 111, Miami 86 with 3:23 left in the ball game.
— NBA (@NBA) May 15, 2016
Now, let’s hand things over to the Heat band, who are making an unexpected appearance here tonight…
6:16 – Fans in the Air Canada Centre are chanting, “WE WANT CLEVELAND!”, as their Raptors are moments away from advancing to their first Eastern Conference Finals in franchise history.
6:17 – Well, the Raptors saved their best for last in this series, and our final score is: Toronto 116, Miami 89. Kyle Lowry had a great Game 7 performance, going for 35 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals. DeMar DeRozan came up with 28 points and 8 rebounds, so we can look the other way on the fact that he shot just 12-29. Bismack Biyombo came up big, contributing 17 points, 16 rebounds and a whole bunch of energy which fed into the loud home crowd. Patrick Patterson chipped in with 11 points and 11 boards. Goran Dragic led the Heat with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, with Dwyane Wade also scoring 16, but they were put away in the second half, and their season is now over.
I have to say, I’m happy for the Raptors and their fans. They deserve a trip to the Conference Finals after a long history of Playoff disappointment. It’s not going to be easy, as they’ll be tangling with the Cleveland Cavaliers next, and they’ve let to lose a game here in the Playoffs. They also won’t have much rest, as Game 1’s on Tuesday, but hopefully they can get themselves healthy, because they’ll need all hands on deck against the mighty Cavaliers.
As for the Heat, a solid Playoff run comes to an end with a bitter defeat, and an uncertain future. With many of their key players about to be free agents, including Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside, it could be a different looking team next year. Then again, you know team president Pat Riley always has something up his sleeve, and free agents love to sign with Miami, so I’m sure they’ll be fine.
With that, the Conference Semifinals are over, and we’re down to the final four teams. The Playoffs have been getting progressively better as they’ve continued on, and hopefully that trend continues into the Conference Finals. Either way, you can count on The Bonus to be there and tell you all about it, even if you don’t want us to.