Raptors hold off Celtics, clinch first playoff berth since 2008

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) at Air Canada Centre in Toronto Friday night. The Raptors beat the Celtics 105-103.
Tom Szczerbowski | USA Today Sports
Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) at Air Canada Centre in Toronto Friday night. The Raptors beat the Celtics 105-103.
Posted March 28, 2014, at 10:38 p.m.

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.

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 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.

NOTES: Raptors coach Dwane Casey expects F Patrick Patterson (elbow) back this weekend. … Casey entered Friday three wins shy of 100 with the Raptors. … Toronto snapped an 11-game skid in Boston on Wednesday night. The Raptors’ previous road win against the Celtics came Jan. 23, 2008. … With the victory in Boston, Toronto reached 40 wins in a season for the first time since 2009-10. … Celtics F Jeff Green was battling a stiff neck but felt better at Friday morning’s shootaround and was in Boston’s starting lineup. … Boston G Rajon Rondo received nine stitches to the bridge of his nose after a collision with Raptors G Greivis Vasquez on Wednesday night.

Wizards 91, Pacers 78

WASHINGTON — Guard John Wall scored 20 points and center Marcin Gortat had 17 points and 12 rebounds as the Washington Wizards picked up a rare victory over the Indiana Pacers, winning 91-78 on Friday night.

Forward Al Harrington had 12 points for the Wizards (37-35), who had lost two straight and four of five overall. Washington never trailed, opened double-digit leads in both halves, including 77-56 midway through the second half.

The Wizards had lost 11 of 12 to the Pacers dating to 2008, including the first two matchups this season.

Forward Paul George scored 19 points on 6-of-22 shooting from the field for the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers (52-21). Indiana committed 17 turnovers and shot 35.4 percent from the floor en route losing its season-high fourth straight road game.

After scoring in the 70s one time in their opening 69 games, the Pacers have done so in three of four games.

The Wizards led 44-37 at halftime and 57-51 before closing the third quarter on a 17-5 run. Forward Martell Webster opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to give Washington its largest lead before the crowd of 19,708. After Indiana pulled closer at 84-74, Washington scored the next seven points, five from Wall.

On Wednesday, Indiana downed the Miami Heat 84-83 in a highly anticipated and hotly contested matchup at home.

Forward Lance Stephenson, ejected in the win over Miami, scored 13 points and tied a career high with 14 rebounds. He also missed all nine of his shots from the field in the first half and finished 3 of 13.

Washington returned home on Wednesday after a 1-3 road trip and promptly lost to the Phoenix Suns 99-93. That struggling version rarely showed against the East’s top team.

Washington entered halftime leading 44-37 after a streaky second quarter for both sides. Harrington alone outscored Indiana 10-0 early in the quarter as the Wizards jumped ahead 41-25. The Pacers then countered with a 12-0 spurt before Webster, who finished with 11 points, ended the first-half scoring with a 3-pointer.

The Pacers committed six turnovers less than five minutes into the game and 10 during the first half.

Wizards guard and second-leading scorer Bradley Beal, who suffered a right hip pointer in Wednesday’s loss, had seven points on 2-of-13 shooting from the field in 35 minutes.

 

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