Miami Heat: How Toronto Ended Miami’s Playoff Dreams
“They don’t want you to make the Eastern Conference Finals.”
This year DJ Khaled’s “they” got the upper hand.
It’s never easy seeing the Miami Heat lose. It’s never easy seeing the Miami Heat lose in game seven in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs by 27 points. Miami fell to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday inside of the Air Canada Centre by a score of 116-89 and they didn’t look well the entire game. It’s never easy seeing the Miami Heat lose to a team in the Toronto Raptors who they should’ve beat, even without Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside. The players on the Heat won’t allow anyone to come up with a narrative as if they didn’t have enough talent on the floor. That’s what makes this organization, first class because they all hold themselves accountable.
“We never think like that. Ok, we miss this guy and that guy. We never use excuses. That’s why this team is such a good ball club. We’ve got 14, 15 players on the roster and you never know when your name is going to get called. You need to be ready” said Goran Dragic.
This season we didn’t get to hear Mike Breen say “With the win against the Toronto Raptors, the Miami Heat are moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals.” However, in the beginning of the season, no one could’ve imagined Miami would’ve made it this far. Losing Bosh was a huge blow to their team’s success. Losing Whiteside half way through the series was equally just as crippling.
“It was definitely tough. We definitely wish those guys could’ve been playing tonight. But we had more than enough, just didn’t get the job done” said Justise Winslow.
The good news is Miami found out that their star Dwyane Wade still has a lot left in his tank. During arguably the most challenging postseason of his career, Wade stepped up. Due to the injuries on the team, the circumstances were pinned against him and he still had one of his best postseasons. Wade also led a team with a lot of inexperienced postseason players such as Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Gerald Green, and Josh McRoberts.
Wade knew that he would have to play his best if this team wanted to succeed and that’s exactly what he did. In the opening round against the Charlotte Hornets, he averaged 19 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5 assists per game while shooting 47% from the floor. Then Wade turned it up yet another level as he averaged 23.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists while shooting 46% against the Raptors.
For as great as Wade and his teammates played during the postseason, this loss still stings everyone in Miami.
“It was a great season….I’m disappointed. I felt like we had a real shot to make a deep run. I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of the guys but this is definitely a tough one to swallow” said Winslow.
Even with the devastating injuries Miami suffered, they earned the respect of their competition.
The good news is at least the Raptors had some kind words to say about Miami. Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry who struggled for most of the series had these words to say about the Heat organization. “Playing against a team like Miami, it pushed us to the limit,” said Lowry.
Next year hopefully Miami can push past that limit.
Regardless of the outcome of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors series, no one’s beating the Golden State Warriors this season.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey