Now that the Raptors have finally broken their first-round playoff jinx, do they have anything left in the tank for Miami?
The Toronto Raptors have advanced to the second round of the National Basketball Association playoffs. That’s something their fans have been waiting for since 2001.
Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat Odds
The Raptors scratched and clawed their way to a Game 7 victory over the Indiana Pacers and now basketball odds have the Raps as -162 to win their series against the Miami Heat.
Game 1 goes Tuesday night with current NBA odds listing the Raptors 4.5-point favourites at home.
NBA Playoffs Odds
Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat Schedule
Game 1 — Tuesday, May 3, 8 p.m. ET. Miami at Toronto. Game 2 — Thursday, May 5, 8 p.m. ET. Miami at Toronto. Game 3 — Saturday, May 7, 5 p.m. ET. Toronto at Miami. Game 4 — Monday, May 9, 8 p.m. ET. Toronto at Miami. *Game 5 — Wednesday, May 11, time TBD. Miami at Toronto. *Game 6 — Friday, May 13, time TBD. Toronto at Miami. *Game 7 — Sunday, May 15, time TBD. Miami at Toronto. *If necessary
The Raptors showed a ton of guts to slip by the Pacers, but now the real question is whether they have anything left for Miami. Kyle Lowry is obviously playing through some sort of injury and DeMar DeRozan struggled to find consistency in the first round. For the Raptors to have a chance against the Heat, Dwayne Casey must run the offence from the inside out, giving Jonas Valanciunas more touches in the paint, and hand players like Norman Powell, Corey Joseph and Bismack Biyombo more minutes. Lowry and DeRozan may have been the All-Stars that got the Raptors to this point, but it’ll be the team’s supporting cast that will be counting on to take the squad to the next level.
The Heat were pushed to the brink of elimination in the first round too, but advanced with a blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets in Game 7. Miami jumped out to a 2-0 series lead in that one before dropping three straight, so this is another team that has battled through significant adversity already in the postseason. Dwyane Wade can still change a game – or a series – within a matter of moments and the Heat do have a good mix of veteran experience to go along with a young core that features Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside. So, in a lot of ways, they’re very similar to the Raptors. However, with former Raptor Chris Bosh in street clothes as he recovers from blood clots, that may be the deciding factor.
Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat Prediction
It’s almost unfair to have this series starting just two days removed from a couple of Game 7s, but that’s what you sign up for in the NBA playoffs. The Raptors should get a boost from their home crowd again and need to jump on this Heat team early in the series. Toronto hasn’t seen the best its top two players – DeRozan and Lowry – have to offer and still made it out of the first round. If the Raps give more playing time to the supporting cast, that will make their stars and the rest of the team that much better. It’s up to the coaching staff to make that switch. Otherwise, they could find themselves behind the eight-ball quickly. Give a slight edge to Toronto if Bosh doesn’t return to play in the series and make it a toss-up if the former Raptor does make another miraculous return and lace them up sometime during the series. With Drake and Co. pumping the crowd up in the ACC and outside at Jurassic Park with this We The North hype, home-court advantage is huge.
Pick: Toronto Raptors win in six games