HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The Toronto Raptors survived a fourth-quarter collapse in Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers. The Miami Heat came back from 3-2 down to beat the Charlotte Hornets. The higher seeds advanced to the conference semifinals, but not without some anxious moments.
Now, both teams get a fresh start. And one of them will be going to the conference finals. For both teams, this is a step up from the first round. There will be key matchups all over the floor and interesting lineup decisions to be made throughout the series.
The Raptors were a top-five offensive team for the second straight season. And they were one of the most improved defensive teams in the league, going from 23rd to 11th in defensive efficiency.
The Heat were a top-five defensive team for much of the year and then the league’s most improved offensive team after the All-Star break. They’ve been one of the best teams in the league at attacking the paint and the Raptors have been one of the best teams in the league in protecting the paint.
Miami hasn’t shot very well from the outside all season. The Raptors were brutal from the perimeter against Indiana. This series may come down to who can make shots, but it will also be a battle for control of the paint.
Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for Raptors-Heat, with links to let you dive in and explore more.
Toronto Raptors (56-26)
First round: Beat Indiana in seven games.
Pace: 92.0 (12)
OffRtg: 99.0 (11)
DefRtg: 103.4 (8)
NetRtg: -4.4 (10)
Raptors playoff notes:
- One of two teams (Portland was the other) that won a first-round series while getting outscored.
- Only team that advanced shooting less than 30 percent from 3-point range in the first round.
- Outscored the Pacers by 1.8 points per 100 possessions in the first half of games, but were outscored by 10.9 points per 100 possessions in the second half (16.7 in the third quarter).
- Kyle Lowry (35.2 percent) and DeMar DeRozan (33.0 percent) rank 59th and 62nd, respectively, in effective field goal percentage among 63 players who have attempted at least 50 shots in the playoffs.
- DeRozan is averaging 10.1 mid-range attempts per game, most in the playoffs.
- Jonas Valanciunas has grabbed 26.2 percent of available rebounds, the highest rebounding percentage in the playoffs.
- Outscored Indiana by 23 points in 126 minutes with Norman Powell on the floor, and were a minus-33 in 146 minutes with him on the bench.
Miami Heat (48-34)
First round: Beat Charlotte in seven games.
Pace: 93.4 (9)
OffRtg: 106.5 (6)
DefRtg: 96.4 (4)
Heat playoff notes:
- Starting lineup has grabbed 57.8 percent of available rebounds, the best rebounding percentage among lineups that have played at least 50 postseason minutes.
- Allowed the Hornets to attempt only 23.1 percent of their shots (the first round’s third lowest rate) from 3-point range, down from 34.8 percent (the league’s fourth highest rate) in the regular season.
- Have averaged 8.3 deflections per game, fewest in the playoffs.
- Dwyane Wade leads the postseason in fourth-quarter usage rate, using 44.0 percent of the Heat’s possessions in the final period.
- Hassan Whiteside has shot 77.8 percent in the restricted area, tied for the best mark among players with at least 30 attempts there. His 27 possessions as the roll man are also tied for the most in the playoffs.
- Whiteside also leads the postseason with 88 shots defended at the rim. The Hornets shot just 40.4 percent at the rim when a Heat defender was there, the lowest mark in the playoffs.
- Luol Deng leads the postseason with 13 corner threes. He’s one of three players who has shot better than 50 percent on at least 25 catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts.
- The Heat used 17 different players against the Raptors, but Justise Winslow was the only one to play in all four games. Goran Dragic, Deng and Whiteside all missed the third meeting, while Wade missed the fourth, which was the only game that Miami had Joe Johnson for. So Miami’s current starting lineup didn’t play in any of the games.
- Valanciunas missed the second meeting for Toronto, DeMarre Carroll didn’t play in any of the four games (so Toronto’s latest starting lineup didn’t play at all either), and Powell played only garbage time in the first meeting.
- DeRozan’s 29.3 points per game was his highest scoring average against any Eastern Conference opponent. Three of his 14 30-point games (in which the Raptors were 11-3) were against the Heat.
- The Raptors outscored the Heat by 34 points in 100 minutes with Patrick Patterson on the floor and were outscored by 12 points in 97 minutes with Patterson on the bench.
- Two of Johnson’s seven highest scoring games this season (one with Brooklyn, one with Miami) were against Toronto.
- Valanciunas scored 26 points on 12-for-20 shooting in 39 minutes with Whiteside on the floor. He scored only 20 points in 48 minutes with Whiteside off the floor.