NBA: Raptors edge Celtics, clinch first playoff berth since 2008
TORONTO -- Guard DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 30 points as the Toronto Raptors clinched their first playoff berth since 2008 with a 105-103 win over the Boston Celtics at the Air Canada Centre on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).
With just 7.1 seconds remaining in the fourth, Raptors center Amir Johnson had his off-balance put back drop sealing the Toronto victory.
Johnson finished with eight points in the win. Guard Terrence Ross had 17 points while guard Greivis Vasquez had 15 points off the bench as the Raptors snap a five year playoff absence.
Toronto, who entered Friday (Saturday, PHL time) leading Brooklyn by 2.5 games for the Atlantic Division lead, can win their first division title since 2007.
Toronto (41-31) has now won three straight and five of six at home over the Celtics. The win improved the Raptors to 3-1 over the Celtics this season.
With the loss, Boston (23-49) lost nine straight on the road this season. The Celtics are now 8-27 away from home this season with their last road victory coming Feb. 10 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Boston used a 15-2 run to take their first lead, 101-95, of the quarter, erasing a Raptors lead, which was at 12 to start the fourth. However, Toronto used a late 6-0 run to keep pace and set up the Johnson winner.
DeRozan led the way with 12 third-quarter points as the Raptors used an early 6-0 run and then closed out on a 16-4 surge to take an 85-73 lead into the fourth.
Lowry left the game with 3:09 remaining in the second quarter favoring what appeared to be a right ankle injury
Lowry got tangled up with Celtics guard Avery Bradley after missing on a 3-point attempt. Lowry was helped off by Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas and a trainer. Once on the bench he left for the dressing room on his own.
Lowry has just two points while shooting 1-of-5 from the field in 14:51 of action.
Raptors closed the half on a 6-2 run to take a 56-53 lead into the break.
Lowry had his right ankle re-taped during halftime and returned to start the third.
Boston opened the game with up an 11-4 lead.
John Salmons replaced DeRozan, who picked up two early fouls, off the bench. Raptors opened shooting 1-for-6 from the field
Following a Toronto timeout, the Raptors go on a 6-0 run to pull to 11-10
After missing five of their first six from the field, Toronto hit eight of 10, closing the quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 32-26 lead after one quarter. - Reuters
RAPTORS 105 - DeRozan 30, Ross 17, Vasquez 15, Valanciunas 13, Lowry 9, Johnson 8, Hayes 6, Salmons 5, Hansbrough 2, Novak 0
CELTICS 103 - Bayless 20, Green 16, Rondo 11, Bradley 11, Sullinger 11, Olynyk 10, Bass 8, Humphries 8, Johnson 6, Pressey 2
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