The Miami Heat situation continues to get more interesting. Now the NBA Players' Association wants to meet with the team over the Chris Bosh issue. Bosh believes he's ready to return from his blood-clot problem and traveled with the team to Toronto for the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Yet the Heat continue to be very quiet and vague on the whole situation but have made it pretty clear he's not playing this season. I guess my question is: If Bosh signs a waiver whereby the Heat and NBA avoid any fault if he happened to die on the court, what's holding Miami back here? ESPN's Dan Le Batard, also a Miami Herald writer, has reported that Bosh has received a medical opinion clearing him to play. But the Heat medical people clearly don't agree. Not sure what the union can do to force the issue.
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Thursday's Game 2: No. 3 Heat at No. 2 Raptors (-4.5, 188.5)
This line is the same as Game 1 when I previewed it but the total is 2.5 points lower. I liked the Heat in Game 1 -- and this series -- and the under. I would have been right on both counts if Toronto's Kyle Lowry hadn't made perhaps the most memorable shot in franchise history, a half-court buzzer-beater to send that game to overtime. However, the Heat quickly took control in the extra period and won 102-96. Why did I like the Heat to win this series? They have the best player on the floor in Dwyane Wade. And he was great in the opener with 24 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Although the Heat were outscored by four points with him on the court -- that's why some people hate that plus/minus rating. Goran Dragic also was strong with 26 points and six rebounds as the Heat backcourt thoroughly outplayed Toronto's. The Heat improved to 5-1 this when Wade (who did bruise his knee in Game 1) and Dragic combined to score at least 50 points.
That Raptors backcourt was an issue in the Pacers' first-round series -- Toronto was only the second team in NBA history to win a playoff series while its top two scorers shot less than 33 percent -- and it continued in Game 1. DeMar DeRozan had 22 points but was 9-for-22. And I have no clue what is wrong with All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. He was just 3-for-13 for seven points with five fouls. His only make in seven 3-point tries was that miracle shot. Apparently Lowry is being bothered by some right elbow pain and had fluid drained from it in March. He shot only 33 percent from the floor in the final eight games of the regular season and is down to 30.6 percent in the playoffs. That's the worst postseason percentage by any NBA player in the past 50 years with a minimum of 100 attempts. The Raptors are getting swept if he doesn't shake it off.
Series line (BetOnline): Heat -180, Raptors +160
Key trends: The Heat are 4-1 against the spread in their past five after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. The Raptors are 1-4 ATS in their past five at home. The "over/under" has gone under in five of Miami's past six on the road. The under is 7-2 in Toronto's past nine.
Early lean: No reason to change my mind now as Wade says his knee is no big deal. Heat and under again.
Friday's Game 3: No. 2 Spurs at No. 3 Thunder (+2, 198.5)
Not sure I've ever seen an ending like Game 2 of this Western Conference semifinal, a 98-97 Thunder road win. I'm positive I've never seen a TV analyst go so bonkers -- and be right -- than when TNT's Chris Webber kept screaming "That's An Offensive Foul!" I think the way he said it at first confused both partner Marv Albert and the audience. But Webber meant that Oklahoma City's Dion Waiters gave the Spurs' Manu Ginobili a forearm to the chest as Waiters was trying to inbound the ball the final seconds. That pass would be eventually stolen and lead to a wild sequence at the Thunder basket as the Spurs were trying to win the game. I still have no clue why Ginobili didn't shoot the ball in the lane and instead kicked it out to Patty Mills for a 3-pointer. The NBA admitted after the game that the officials missed a whopping five calls in the final 13.5 seconds, including that offensive foul on Waiters. The NBA Referees' Association said it had never seen a player do what Waiters had before -- neither had I.
If there's one team that will put something like that behind it, it's the incredibly well-coached and calm Spurs. They obviously need to do a better job offensively on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Those two struggled in Game 1 but combined for 57 points in Game 2. Steven Adams was also huge with 12 points and 17 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the best player of this series and had 41 points to lead the Spurs in the loss. But Kawhi Leonard had 14, Tony Parker seven and Tim Duncan two. The Spurs shot 43 percent as a team after shooting 61 percent in the series opener. Yet they still nearly won. It was only San Antonio's second home loss all season. The Thunder had to have that one considering that teams that won at least 65 regular-season games who also went up 2-0 in a playoff series are 35-0 all-time in those series.
Series line: Spurs -290, Thunder +245
Key trends: San Antonio was 1-1 ATS on the road in the first round against Memphis and 1-1 O/U. OKC was 1-2 ATS in the first round at home vs. Dallas and 1-2 O/U.
Early lean: Thunder and over.
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