Backcourt guides Raptors to 3-2 series lead
(The Sports Xchange) - The Toronto Raptors All Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have come in for criticism for not living up to their status during the playoffs but both stifled the talk on Wednesday.
DeRozan, who has been playing with a sore thumb, scored 34 points and Lowry added 25 as the Raptors defeated the Miami Heat 99-91 to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-final series.
As each went through shooting slumps, Raptors coach Dwane Casey stayed with them even as the criticism mounted. The difference in DeRozan, he said, was that the shooting guard was "decisive" in his play.
"They're our guys, we can disparage them all we want to, and talk about their shooting is" Casey said. "But again you don't forget how to score the basketball.
"It's going to come back, when, you hope it's within the series. But it's going to come back. We have faith in those guys. They carried us the entire season.
"Not one time did we doubt their ability to score the basketball, nor did their teammates."
The Raptors surged at the start and led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter and were ahead by 20 in the second quarter before the Heat began chipping away at their deficit.
The Raptors took a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter, and Miami reduced it to five with just under five minutes to play.
"Even though we played so poorly in the first half," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We just had a feeling the game was going to come down to a possession game at the end. It did and they made more plays. Continued...