DeRozan and Johnson have been with the Raptors since the 2009-10
season, seeing the organizational rebuild from its early stages.
With just 7.1 seconds remaining in the fourth, Johnson had his
off-balance put-back lay-up drop, sealing the Toronto victory, and
more importantly, clinching the Raptors first playoff berth since
The victory marked the earliest the Raptors clinched a playoff spot
in in team history.
"We made it." said Johnson, with both feet still in an ice bath
postgame. "It's satisfying. Kind of over whelming feeling, but at
the same time, you know you still got a lot more to accomplish. You
got to take one step at a time."
DeRozan had a game-high 30 points, including the first 10 Raptor
points of the fourth quarter.
"The hard work Casey put in every single day since he's been here,
since the lockout year — you definitely see it paying off, " said DeRozan. "It's definitely even sweeter to have our head coach, who
we've been here through the struggle with, share this moment with
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, which leads Brooklyn by 2.5 games for the Atlantic Division
lead, can win its first division title since 2007.
"My hat is off to all the guys who have come through here, to DeMar
DeRozan, Amir Johnson — been through it all," said Casey. "To the
fans ... the fans for understanding and being patient. I know they
didn't see the pot of goal at the end of the rainbow, but again,
it's a process, you don't build Rome overnight.
"We can't be satisfied. We still want to continue on. We've got to
get better, we saw tonight, how the physicality in the game...
that's the way the playoffs are going to be, a meat grinder."
Toronto (41-31) won three straight and five of six at home over the
Celtics. The win improved the Raptors to 3-1 over the Celtics this
With the loss, Boston (23-49) lost nine straight on the road. The
Celtics are now 8-27 away from home this season with their last road
victory coming Feb. 10 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Guard Jerryd Bayless led the way with 20 points off the bench for
Boston. Forward Jeff Green chipped in with 16 while guards Avery
Bradley and Rajon Rondo along with center Jared Sullinger all
finished with 11 each.
"We've got to play better throughout the game," said Bayless. "There
are times where play well, like you've seen, and there are times
when we struggle. We've just got to have a more consistent effort
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.
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"Tough the difference in the game was (DeRozan) making tough shots
at the end of the day," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "Amir
Johnson made great play on the tip in."
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 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
"I'm alright, I'm little sore, but I'm OK. I'm fine. Good to go,"
said Lowry of his ankle.
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
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
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
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