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NBA: Raptors earn playoff berth with Celtics win

Agence France-Presse
The Toronto Raptors are headed back to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2008, punching their ticket with a dramatic 105-103 victory over Boston

HEADING TO THE BIG DANCE. Amir Johnson of Toronto (pictured) scored on a layup with 7.1 left to earn Toronto its first playoff spot since 2008. Photo by Warren Toda/EPA

TORONTO – The Toronto Raptors are headed back to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2008, punching their ticket with a dramatic 105-103 victory over Boston on Friday.

Amir Johnson’s putback layup with 7.1 seconds left to play was the deciding basket.

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and Terrence Ross added 17 for the Raptors, DeRozan notching his 16th game this season with at least 30 points.

Greivis Vasquez had 15 points and Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 13 while Johnson finished with eight points and eight rebounds.

The Raptors haven’t made the NBA playoffs since the 2007-08 season, when they were eliminated in the first round in five games by Orlando.

Boston trailed 85-73 after three quarters, but had gained a four-point advantage, 101-97, with 3:06 remaining.

Toronto dominated from there. Kyle Lowry scored with a driving layup and Vasquez knotted the score with two free throws at 1:14.

After Jeff Green missed a jump shot for Boston, DeRozan restored Toronto’s lead with 33.9 seconds remaining.

Boston’s Rajon Rondo tied it again with a layup, setting up Toronto’s final possession.

Lowry drove and missed a layup, but Johnson tipped in the miss, sending the crowd at Air Canada Centre into a frenzy.

“It just sums up everything that we’ve been through,” DeRozan said of the fans’ reaction. “These fans stuck behind us every single day and they are going to continue to do so and that’s the reason why we work extremely hard.

“Our fans definitely push us and it’s time to move to the next step and keep learning and make some noise in the playoffs.” – Rappler.com

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