Views: 105, Date:13/May/2016


Goran Dragic's drives deliver Heat Game 6 victory over Raptors


MIAMI -- Point guard Goran Dragic was in attack mode early and often Friday night, and he carried the Miami Heat into another do-or-die Game 7 as a result.

Dragic penetrated to the basket with ease, finishing with a playoff career-high 30 points, and the Heat survived elimination, beating the Toronto Raptors 103-91 in Game 6 at American Airlines Arena.

The Eastern Conference second-round series is now tied, 3-3. Game 7 is in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.

"I was just aggressive," said Dragic, whose plus-minus was a game-high plus-25 in 38 minutes. "I didn't want to go home to Europe. I still want to be here. It was an important game for us, and of course we came out from the first minute with aggressiveness, tried to attack the paint and space the floor, and I think we did an amazing job tonight."

Dragic came into Game 6 having an up-and-down playoffs in which he was averaging 15.4 points on 43.5 percent shooting.

The difference in Friday night's 30-point, 12-for-21 performance was his ability to get downhill and drive to the rim.

After averaging 6.6 points as a team on Dragic's 9.6 drives to the rim in Games 1-5 of the series, the Heat exploded for 26 points on Dragic's postseason-high 21 drives to the rim in Game 6, according to ESPN Stats & Info research.

It was tied for the second-most points created by a team off a player's drives in the playoffs, next to Boston's 28 points created off of point guard Isaiah Thomas' drives against Atlanta on April 24.

"What [Goran] shows is great emotional stability," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Tonight was his night, and he was aggressive. The only person that feels worse than him when he doesn't look like Goran is his head coach, because usually it's foul trouble or me that's the reason he can't look like himself. But he looked like himself tonight and it came at the right time."

Spoelstra pulled out all the stops in Game 6, using a small starting lineup that included rookie Justise Winslow and no player taller than 6-foot-9. Spoelstra later inserted a lineup that featured three guards, with Dragic, Tyler Johnson and rookie Josh Richardson.

The goal in trying to overcome the absence of 7-footer Hassan Whiteside was to provide Dragic and franchise player Dwyane Wade (22 points) with quality floor spacing and lanes to attack the basket. Meanwhile, the Raptors won the rebounding battle 43-41.

"Sometimes unconventional works," Wade said.

Toronto's All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry (36) and DeMar DeRozan (23) combined for 59 points for a second consecutive game, but this time, they received little help from their supporting cast. Plus, their perimeter defense allowed far too much penetration.

Simply put, the Raptors can't handle prosperity. According to ESPN Stats & Info research, they are 0-7 when leading a playoff series.

Both teams played a first-round series that went seven games. So of course, this one will, too.

The Heat have won four straight Game 7s, and the Raptors are 5-0 after losses this postseason.

Something has to give.

"It's different than a normal game," Wade said of Game 7. "It's not a Game 1, where you have a Game 2 the next day. You have to give a little more. You have to do a little more. You have to give everything you have. There's no tomorrow."

For the Heat, tomorrow exists because Dragic, for all his highs and lows, played like the best player on the floor.

"It's great. It's awesome. Even when you have a bad game, you want to be in this position because last time I played in the playoffs was six years ago and it's awesome for me," Dragic said. "I enjoy the competitiveness, I enjoy every game. You know sometimes you're going to have bad games and sometimes you're going to have good games, but I always try to look at the positive and try to respond. Nobody said it's going to be easy, and I'll be going to Toronto for the seventh game."

As Wade joined Dragic at the podium for their postgame news conference, the pair exchanged friendly shoulder nudges.

"I knew this guy to my left was going to have an amazing performance tonight," Wade said of Dragic. "You could just tell he was on the brink of having one, and it was a great game to get."

Source: ESPN.com






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