Thursday, April 26, 2018

Lowry finds his shooting touch as Raptors gain edge

MIAMI — Kyle Lowry got his game back at the perfect time for the Raptors.

And the Heat is in all kinds of trouble.

Shaking off epic playoff struggles, Lowry scored 33 — including five straight to break a late tie — in a duel with Dwyane Wade to lift Toronto to a 95-91 victory over Miami on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Raptors lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is in Miami on Monday night.

"I felt like it was just a matter of time," Lowry said.

He was a career 34 percent playoff shooter coming into Saturday and was shooting 31 percent in these playoffs. Then he made 11 of 19 shots and 5 of 8 3-pointers.

"I've never lost faith in him," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "I've said this: He's struggled, but you don't forget how to shoot. And we needed that. We needed him to be Kyle and he was Kyle" Saturday.

Lowry had 29 points after halftime. So did Wade, who led everybody with 38 points and sparked a Miami comeback from 13 down in the second half.

But the Heat lost a game and maybe more. Center Hassan Whiteside is set to have an MRI exam today to determine how much damage he did to his right knee in a second-quarter tumble.

"We'll know more" today, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas limped off with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, and he'll be listed as day to day. But Whiteside's injury seems far worse, with the free-agent-to-be's status for the rest of the series in major doubt.

"Guys have to step up," Wade said. "Nobody can be Hassan Whiteside. … We have to figure out a way."

DeMar DeRozan scored 19, and Valanciunas had 16 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes for Toronto. Goran Dragic scored 12 and Joe Johnson had 10 for Miami.

It was tied at 82 when Lowry hit a 3-pointer with 2:07 left, and he followed that with two free throws on the next Toronto possession.

Raptors 95, Heat 91

TORONTO (95): Carroll 2-9 1-2 6, Patterson 3-4 1-1 9, Valanciunas 7-12 2-5 16, Lowry 11-19 6-6 33, DeRozan 6-17 7-8 19, Ross 2-3 1-2 5, Scola 0-2 0-0 0, Biyombo 0-0 3-4 3, Joseph 2-4 0-0 4, Powell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-70 21-28 95.

MIAMI (91): Deng 2-6 0-0 4, Jo.Johnson 4-11 2-2 10, Whiteside 2-2 2-2 6, Dragic 5-14 2-2 12, Wade 13-25 8-8 38, McRoberts 0-2 4-4 4, Haslem 4-7 0-1 8, Stoudemire 0-1 0-0 0, Richardson 0-2 1-2 1, Green 3-7 2-3 8. Totals 33-77 21-24 91.

Toronto 23 26 19 27— 95

Miami 19 21 28 23— 91

3-Point GoalsToronto 8-18 (Lowry 5-8, Patterson 2-3, Carroll 1-3, Joseph 0-1, Ross 0-1, Scola 0-2), Miami 4-18 (Wade 4-6, McRoberts 0-1, Richardson 0-2, Deng 0-2, Jo.Johnson 0-2, Green 0-2, Dragic 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsToronto 35 (Valanciunas 12), Miami 38 (Wade 8). AssistsToronto 16 (DeRozan 5), Miami 11 (Wade 4). Total FoulsToronto 22, Miami 24. A19,675 (19,600).

BLAZERS 120, WARRIORS 108: Damian Lillard had a playoff-best 40 points, and host Portland avoided a fourth-quarter letdown to cut Golden State's advantage in the Western Conference semifinal to 2-1.

The defending NBA champion Warriors were still without reigning MVP Steph Curry, who sprained his right knee in Game 4 of the team's first-round series against Houston.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 23 points and 10 rebounds and CJ McCollum added 22 points for Portland. The Trail Blazers led 58-46 at halftime and stretched the lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter.

Draymond Green had 37 points and Klay Thompson added 35 for the Warriors, who had won four straight against the Blazers.

Trail Blazers 120, Warriors 108

GOLDEN STATE (108): Barnes 2-8 2-2 7, Green 13-23 3-6 37, Bogut 3-4 0-0 6, Livingston 2-4 1-1 5, Thompson 14-28 2-2 35, Iguodala 0-5 1-2 1, McAdoo 0-0 0-0 0, Speights 0-2 0-2 0, Ezeli 0-0 1-2 1, Rush 0-0 0-0 0, Barbosa 5-7 0-0 10, Clark 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 42-88 10-17 108.

PORTLAND (120): Aminu 8-9 3-3 23, Harkless 1-4 0-0 3, Plumlee 2-6 1-4 5, Lillard 14-27 4-4 40, McCollum 8-18 5-5 22, Davis 3-5 2-2 8, Vonleh 0-0 0-0 0, Roberts 0-1 1-2 1, Henderson 2-8 3-4 8, Crabbe 2-8 4-5 10, Montero 0-0 0-0 0, Connaughton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-86 23-29 120.

Golden State 28 18 34 28— 108

Portland 22 36 35 27— 120

3-Point GoalsGolden State 14-29 (Green 8-12, Thompson 5-9, Barnes 1-3, Speights 0-1, Barbosa 0-1, Iguodala 0-1, Clark 0-2), Portland 17-30 (Lillard 8-13, Aminu 4-5, Crabbe 2-4, Henderson 1-1, Harkless 1-2, McCollum 1-5). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsGolden State 42 (Green 9), Portland 41 (Davis, Aminu 10). AssistsGolden State 29 (Livingston 10), Portland 19 (Lillard 10). Total FoulsGolden State 20, Portland 19. A19,673 (19,441).

LATE FRIDAY: Kawhi Leonard's critical offensive rebound of LaMarcus Aldridge's miss led to two free throws by Tony Parker with 18 seconds left that put the Spurs ahead by four, and visiting San Antonio hung on to beat the Thunder 100-96 and take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series. Leonard had 31 points and 11 rebounds, but his final rebound was the most important.

GRIZZLIES FIRE COACH: The Grizzlies fired coach Dave Joerger in a surprising move after three seasons and three straight playoff appearances. A team battered by injuries finished the regular season at 42-40 before being swept in the first round by the Spurs.

"After careful consideration, I concluded that a change was needed to foster the strong culture required to achieve sustainable, long-term success for this organization, the city and our fans," general manager Chris Wallace said in a statement.

The Grizzlies used an NBA-record 28 players this season. Center Marc Gasol's season ended in February with a broken right foot, and point guard Mike Conley's was done in early March with left Achilles tendinitis.

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