The Toronto Raptors defeated the Miami Heat 116-89 in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup and are now headed to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Raptor fans have been subjected to more heartbreak and frustration over the last 21 years than most fanbases in professional sports. This win more than qualifies as one of the best and biggest in team history, and most of the takeaways from it are glowingly positive.
Here's a quick rundown of the numbers and how the Raptors ultimately got it done.
The All-Stars aligned for the third-straight game
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan scored a combined 59 points in each of the last two games, setting and then tying their highest combined total for this postseason.
With Lowry's 35 and DeRozan's 28 in last night's Game 7, their total scoring output of 63 not only represents a new high point for this postseason, but it's also tied for the second-most points that they've ever scored together in any game in their four years as teammates (via ESPN).
Lowry threw in seven rebounds, nine assists, and four steals, while registering a game-high +31 plus-minus rating in over 41.5 minutes. He had an very efficient shooting performance as well, going 11-for-20 from the field and 5-for-7 from long range. His resulting Effective Field Goal percentage (weighted two and threes) of 71.1% was a postseason high.
DeRozan, meanwhile, chipped in eight rebounds and an assist while registering a +15 in 35 minutes.
The role players stepped up
The Raptors lost Game 6 of this series, despite getting big games from Lowry and DeRozan, largely because they got next to nothing from their usually effective supporting cast.
That wasn't the case in Game 7.
Bismack Biyombo was a huge factor in this one, scoring 17 points, grabbing 16 rebounds (including six offensive boards), and swatting away two shots. He finished with a plus-minus of +25 (second in the game only to Lowry's +31), while contesting a game-high 15 shots.
Patrick Patterson may have missed all four of his three-point attempts, but he put up a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, including a whopping seven on the offensive glass.
DeMarre Carroll was a defensive force all night and tossed in an ultra-efficient scoring night to boot. His 14 points were scored on 4-for-5 shooting from the field, 2-for-2 from long range, and 4-for-4 from the free throw line, good for a True Shooting Percentage (weighted twos, threes, and free throws) of 103.6%. That's right, he effectively broke math.
Terrence Ross hit timely shots and got two big steals.
Cory Joseph may have missed all eight of his shots and only managed to score one point, but he was part of some of the team's most effective lineups on the night, as evidenced by his plus-minus rating of +14 in just over 19 minutes of time on the floor.
Everyone who played significant minutes for the Raptors in Game 7 was effective in some way, essentially.
The Raptors won in more ways than one
The 116-89 final score is a pretty good indication that the Raptors won this game pretty handily, but you could guess a Toronto victory by looking at any number of categories in the box score as well.
The Raptors outrebounded the Heat 50-30, including a 20-7 edge on the offensive glass. That led to a 27-9 Toronto advantage in second chance points.
Toronto scored 16 fastbreak points to Miami's 6. They also scored 17 points off of Miami's 13 turnovers, while only turning the ball over nine times themselves (leading to 12 Heat points).
Finally, the Raptors got to the line 43 times, compared to the Heat's 23 attempts from the charity stripe. Toronto may have missed 14 of those 43 freebies (for a lowly free throw percentage of 67.4%), but being aggressive and getting to the line early and often was a big key to this win.
Records and firsts galore
116 points is the most ever scored by the Raptors in a playoff game and the 27-point win represents the highest margin of victory in their postseason history as well.
It was the first time that the team has ever won an afternoon playoff game (starting before 4:00pm EST) in 14 attempts, including their first in six such games over the last three postseason runs.
When these playoffs began, the Raptors had never won a Game 7, nor a seven-game series in any capacity. Now they've won two of each and are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time ever.
What a time to be alive.