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NBA PLAYOFFS -- Raptors nip Pacers in Game 7, win first playoffs series since 2000


PhilBoxing.com


TORONTO--- There was a mix of excitement and tension around the Air Canada Centre​ on Sunday night​. It​ was ​ Game 7​ between the host Toronto Raptors and the visiting Indiana Pacers. It was ​win or go home.

For the Raptors, it mean​t​ more than just ​winning a playoffs series for the first time since 2000. It was a chance to silence the doubters and prove to their loyal fans that this team have what it takes.

​Claiming the Atlantic Division title three years in a row and setting a franchise record of 56 wins this season have been great accomplishments for this ball club.

But none of th​o​se accomplishments matter until they prove themselves worthy tonight.

And prove themselves worthy they did.

The Raptors got off to a great start behind DeMar DeRozan's 13 points to start off the first quarter. After the first 12 minutes of the game the Raptors led 28-23.

The Raptors bench took over and provided the fire power in the second half. Rookie Norman Powell led the charge scoring 10 points including two clutch 3 pointers to keep the Raptors on top by 6 at the half 50-44.

DeRozan would continue his onslaught pouring in 13 points in the 3rd quarter. Patrick Patterson added fire power from beyond the arc drilling 3 out of 4 three-point attempts. The Raptors go up by fourteen, 78-64 at the end of the third.

But Paul George and the Indiana Pacers wouldn't go down without a fight. The Pacers weren't going let the Raptors run away with the game. The Pacers would turn up their defence and limit Toronto to score 11 points in the fourth quarter.

The Pacers cut down Toronto's lead to 3 points after George Hill hit a clutch 3 over the outstretched hands of Lowry with less than 2 minutes left in the game 85-82.

Lowry would retaliate. Kyle willed his way to the basket with a hard drive to top up Toronto's lead back up to 5 points at 87-82.

At the next sequence, Paul George was fouled and make both free throws to cut the lead to three once again 87-84.

But DeMar wouldn't let this one slip away. He sank both of his free throws after being fouled to put Toronto up 89-84 with 6 seconds left on the clock. DeRozan redeemed himself from all the criticism he's had in this series by leading the Raptors with 30 points and 5 rebounds.

Toronto would win the game 89-84. This is the first time in 15 years that the Toronto Raptors advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

"First of all, I want to see everybody's story that they wrote before the game", Casey stated immediately upon taking the podium.

After the Raptors' embarrassing blowout loss in Indiana in Game 6, Casey eluded to numerous reports he had read about how Indiana was going to win the series. About how people in Toronto and the States were writing the Raptors off. According to Casey, these reports only motivated the team to prove people wrong.

"I think everybody wrote the Raptors off and gave us up for dead. But that locker room is full of fighters and scrappers and guys that are really getting into it now"

"I loved that because I thought our guys used that as motivation, used it as fuel to fight, to scrap."

The Raptors are going to face the Miami Heat on Tuesday in the Eastern Conference Semifinal round.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Mark Josef.


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