Toronto Raptors manager Dwane Casey’s faith in his All-Star backcourt was tested.
“There were some moments, ‘Gosh, are they ever going to make a shot?’” Casey pronounced of guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
Tested though never broken. Lowry and DeRozan, who have struggled offensively in a playoffs and competence not be 100% healthy, rewarded Casey’s self-assurance with must-have performances in a must-win home game.
Lowry scored a game-high 35 points and DeRozan had 28 as a Raptors degraded a Miami Heat 116-89 in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
In his best diversion of a series, Lowry done 11 of 20 shots and had 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals. He was sharpened worse than 40% in a array headed into Game 7.
“The tough work pays off,” Lowry pronounced as he left Air Canada Centre. “I don’t work tough in a summer to throw all we work on in a playoffs. I’m a large follower in technique, and we only kept during it.”
DeRozan had a not-so-efficient 12-for-29 sharpened diversion from a field. But in a array that was a rival grind, he done a required shots.
“You knew low in your heart that we believed those guys would come around. They’re not going to forget how to score,” Casey said. “I’ve been in this thing a long, prolonged time, and I’ve never seen scorers forget. They might have a bad integrate of weeks, a month, though it’s going to come behind around. They did. It was good to see.”
Casey grown that truth over decades of coaching stars as an partner during a University of Kentucky and a Seattle SuperSonics. As a troublesome hit lens done his right eye H2O after his postgame news conference, he told USA TODAY Sports he witnessed Gary Payton, Hersey Hawkins and Detlef Schrempf go by sharpened slumps, and they always rediscovered their shot.
“We never doubted Kyle and DeMar,” Casey said. “They’re a guys. They’re All-Stars, and we suspicion they both played like it tonight. They both stepped adult and carried us.”
Casey lived with a adage: Dance with who brought we to a party.
DeRozan had 11 points in a initial quarter, Lowry 12 in a second. DeRozan scored 11 and Lowry with 12 in a third. DeRozan’s jumper followed by Lowry’s three-pointer done it 111-86 with 3:24 left in a fourth quarter. They scored 54% of Toronto’s points.
“We knew what was during stake,” DeRozan said.
If Toronto’s Game 7 feat in a initial turn opposite a Indiana Pacers brought a whine of relief, another first-round exit avoided, afterwards Sunday’s feat was a joyous scream. For a country. For a city. For ubiquitous manager Masai Ujiri, Casey and a players, from Lowry to DeRozan to backup core Bismack Biyombo, who had 17 points and 16 rebounds with starter Jonas Valanciunas (sprained ankle) sidelined.
Fans distinguished during Air Canada Centre. They rocked Maple Leaf Square only outward a arena. Players hugged — for a Raptors modernized to a discussion finals for a initial time in authorization history.
The first-round playoff waste in 2014 and 2015? Those demons have been vanquished.
The Raptors are right where they are ostensible to be — a No. 2 seed in a East personification a No. 1 seed, a Cleveland Cavaliers, in a discussion finals, starting Tuesday in Cleveland (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The Raptors became a 15th group in NBA story to win dual Game 7s in a same postseason. There’s not a lot of time to suffer this. The Cavaliers are 8-0 in a postseason, have played 6 fewer games than a Raptors and are complacent and waiting.
But give a Raptors their moment. With no Canadian group in a NHL playoffs and a Blue Jays personification .500 ball, a nation’s sporting eyes have been on a Raptors this spring.
The Raptors had too most for a Heat, who were but Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh and didn’t have adequate offense after Dwyane Wade. Coach Erik Spoelstra explored artistic lineups, acid for a multiple that could blemish out a win. He found it 3 times.
He couldn’t find it for a fourth time in Game 7. Not with Lowry and DeRozan putting together All-Star performances.
The Raptors need some-more of that opposite a Cavs.
“We ain’t satisfied,” Lowry said.