We will see Friday night (and, if needed, Sunday) if the Toronto Raptors can close out the Miami Heat and reach the franchise’s first-ever conference finals.
If they do, a shoelace may play a significant role.
For the handful of you who suffered through Game 5 of the Miami/Toronto series, you saw the TNT cameras showing the Raptors Director of Sports Science Alex McKechnie wrapping DeMar DeRozan‘s injured thumb in a shoelace. That would be the breaking out of his slump with 34 points DeRozan. So what is the deal with the magic shoelace? ESPN.com’s Mike Mazzeo got McKechnie talking (via Ball Don’t Lie):
“It’s not the first time I’ve done it. I’ve done it many, many times,” McKechnie said at the team’s morning shootaround Friday prior to Game 6 at American Airlines Arena.
“I think the first thing to understand is that the process is actually a very traditional way of treating injured fingers. It’s used to create pressure and compression. You start very firm and you actually release pressure as you go through (wrapping it). Once it’s completely covered in the string of the shoelace you mobilize the joint so you actually get tissue drainage and mobilization and you get immediate recovery in range (of movement).”
McKechnie used to work for the Lakers, where he said he used the same technique on Kobe Bryant, whose banged-up fingers are 30 years older than the rest of his body due to the abuse.
So the technique works. The question is can DeRozan and his wrapped finger stay in attack-and-score mode on the road with a series on the line? Miami is a roster where plenty of guys — not just Dwyane Wade — wear championship rings and will not just roll over. DeRozan and Kyle Lowry both need another big game to close this out, or we will all be subjected to a Game 7 Sunday. And we have seen the Raptors get tight in a Game 7 before these playoffs.