The Toronto Raptors are going to the playoffs.
But they better not keep playing like they have been if they expect any degree of success when they get there.
The Raps beat the Boston Celtics 105 to 103 tonight to clinch a playoff birth in next month's post-season, the club's first in six years. It's an exciting feeling considering the club's performance the past half-decade, and Raps fans should go to bed tonight with smiles on their faces.
Someone who's likely not going to bed with a smile on his face, if he's going to bed at all, is Raptors' head coach Dwane Casey. Yet again his team let a lesser opponent hang around and nearly steal a win, continuing a frustrating trend that his club seems to be caught in these past couple weeks. Despite an 86 to 73 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, the Raptors allowed the Celtics to storm back and eventually take the lead with about four minutes left. Boston scored 30 fourth quarter points and hit nearly everything they threw up as the Dinos defence offered little to no resistance.
But DeMar DeRozan put on a show to keep Toronto in it (he finished with a team-high 30), Kyle Lowry again dragged his club to the finish line, and Amir Johnson got the Raps over the line, scoring on a put-back of a Lowry miss with seven seconds left to seal the W.
In the end, all that matters is win number 41 on the season and that's indeed what Toronto secured.
And along with that came the playoff birth.
Terrence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas and Greivis Vasquez all scored in double figures for Toronto and the Raps bench had a much bigger impact in this one than they've had the past few games. Chuck Hayes scored only six points but was a +15 on the evening making some big plays at both ends of the court.