Game Review: Raptors at Wizards (Round 1 - Game 4)

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


The Raptors got off to a good start to the game, but the Wizards had the momentum. With 9:21 remaining in the 1st, John Wall had a monster slam dunk over Jonas Valanciunas, posterizing the 6'11" Center. After this dunk, Washington had all of the energy on their side. Bradley Beal put up 9 points, but DeMar DeRozan matched it with 9 points of his own. Serge Ibaka dropped 5. Toronto led 30-22 going into the 2nd.

Wall was going off in the 2nd quarter, scoring 9 points with ease. DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 12 points. At the 7:39 mark, Wall drove into the lane and tried to float the ball into the hoop. Delon Wright slapped the ball away for the block, but it was rebounded by Washington's Tomas Satoransky. Satoransky was then blocked by Pascal Siakam. Wright then drove down the court and found Siakam for the thunderous dunk. This was an excellent sequence for the Raptors, and it all happened within a 15 second time interval. Toronto led 51-40 heading into the break.

Just like in Game 3, the 3rd quarter was Toronto's kryptonite. The Wizards dropped 40 points in the period, led by Otto Porter Jr. and Bradley Beal. Porter put up 10 points and Beal put up 12. In addition, John Wall recorded 6 assists. DeMar DeRozan went off with 14 points in the quarter. The game was tied 80-80 going into the final period of play.

The Wizards out-played Toronto in the 4th quarter. Wall and Beal went for 18 points, while DeMar and Kyle only combined for 10. With 4:58 remaining in the game, Bradley Beal picked up his 6th personal foul, leading to him being fouled out from the game. The game was tied up 92-92 when Beal went to the bench, but Toronto never took advantage of the situation. The Wizards then went on a 14-6 run to end the game. The Raptors were defeated by the Wizards 98-106 after another dominance performance from both John Wall (27pts, 6 rebounds, 14 assists) and Bradley Beal (31pts, 5 rebounds). The series is now tied 2-2.

6ix Best
DeMar DeRozan: 35pts, 6 rebounds, 6 assists
Kyle Lowry: 19pts, 7 rebounds, 5 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 10pts, 3 rebounds
Jakob Poeltl: 10pts, 7 rebounds
Serge Ibaka: 7pts, 10 rebounds
Delon Wright: 7pts, 3 rebounds, 5 assists


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 58

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EPISODE 58

"FAMILIARITY"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


Weekly Toronto Raptors Review/Preview

  • The Toronto Raptors proved that they are certainly a different team in the playoffs by taking the first two games at home... or so we thought. They followed up those two franchise victories by losing two in a row to the Wizards on the road in Washington. With the series now tied 2-2, is it time to panic? Do the Raptors have what it takes to take the series back in their hands and be the dominate force that we became familiar with this regular season? Or will it be a different kind of familiarity in the sense that the Raptors don't seem to have enough to get it done come Playoff time?
  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Craig Oliver - journalist for Hashtag Basketball and the co-host of the Hashtag Raptors Podcast. Craig and Adam discuss a variety of topics stemming from the ugly Game 4 loss such as - whether or not this fuels the fire from the US media; if Lowry and DeRozan are really the "smash brothers" in the playoffs; how much can we blame this on the refs?; what would constitute a failure for this Raptors team; your Twitter questions; our predictions for the remainder of the series; and so much more!

It's a Raptors podcast that - unlike Game 4 - you will not want to miss!

Follow Craig on Twitter: @CraigOliver1997
Subscribe to the Hashtag Raptors Podcast on iTunes HERE
Visit Craig's work HERE

Music:
Anitek - "Pipes"
Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Washington Wizards Not Backing Down - Take Game 3 vs Sluggish Raptors

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Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


The Toronto Raptors were in Washington Friday night looking to take a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Wizards. But the Raptors were once again without the likes of Fred VanVleet, who after only playing three minutes in game 2 is still suffering from a shoulder injury. Although he has been practicing, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey says it’s not that serious.

Teams who are up 2-0 in a series go on to win 93.5% of the time. Going up 3-0 would definitely put away the series in a hurry with teams whom go down 0-3 in a series have a combined NBA record of 0-127.

With tip-off underway, it didn’t take long for the physicality to kick in. Only two and a half minutes into the game, a bit of a shoving match occurred between Raptors' rookie OG Anunoby and Wizards' Markieff Morris, leading to both teams getting involved and putting their own words in before getting split up. After a lengthily review, OG and Morris ultimately received double technicals. During that review, Kyle Lowry gathered up the troops to calm them down and get the mindset of winning this game back.

The Raptors opened the game up 3-4 from three point range which added on to a 12-4 from Toronto. This included a rare but beautiful move from Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas, blowing by Gortat from atop of the three-point line and doing a reverse lay-up. This forced Wizards head coach - Scott Brooks - to call a timeout. Hundreds of Raptors’ fans were being heard from behind the Raptors’ bench, who made the trip to D.C. Although the Raptors were up 19-12 at the 4:22 mark, the Wizards went on a 18-10 run to end the first quarter to lead by one.

This is where the game changed, and it can be defined by one word: Turnovers. The Washington Wizards forced the Raptors to five turnovers. But it was the points off those turnovers that was the story. Dead ball turnovers might not be so bad, but live ball turnovers are where they get you. Washington led in the category 17-2 just halfway through the second quarter. Although the Raptors were only down five at the 7:22 mark of the second quarter, it wasn’t done there. Four minutes later the Wizards went on a 17-6 run. The crowd was loud, the players were hyped, which seemed to get the better of the Raptors who weren’t moving the ball on offence and not getting great looks.

With 3:30 to go in the second and the Raptors’ down 13, coach Casey called a timeout trying to calm this crowd down and to regroup his team. It worked for a bit, but not for long. Toronto came out of the timeout going on a 7-0 run to go down just five with two minutes to play in the first half. Washington didn’t let that get to them, as they pulled away again and led 69-61 at halftime. John Wall and Bradley Beal combine for 40 points at halftime, while the Raptors turned the ball over 12 times ,leading to 22 points off turnovers for Washington.

From there, Washington never looked back, as they scored 32 points in the third quarter extending their lead to 19 points going into the fourth. The Wizards held that lead all the way through to ultimately defeat Toronto 122-103. Toronto finished the game with 19 turnovers leading to 28 of Washington’s 122 points.  DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 42 points compared to Wizards back-court of John Wall and Bradley Beal who combined for 56 points. Gortat showed up as well, shooting eight for ten from the field with 16 points. Meanwhile, Raptors’ Serge Ibaka did not show up. He went one for four and only picking up three points. Raptors fans can only hope Ibaka does not fall back into that horrific dry spell he had near the end of the regular season.

Game four goes today at 6 p.m. in Washington. Toronto needs to take care of the ball more and not let turnovers get the better of them. They can’t let the ball sit in the hands of one person. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. Fred VanVleet can be a huge difference maker in that situation and who can possibly play in game four. No update on his status is known at this time. This series isn’t over yet and if the Wizards win game four, it’ll be all knotted up heading back to Toronto for a crucial game five at the ACC.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Game Review: Raptors at Wizards (Round 1 - Game 3)

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


The game started off as a true battle between two all-star SG's. DeMar DeRozan put up 10 points for the Toronto, while Bradley Beal dropped 12 points for Washington. At the 9:33 mark in the quarter, things got chippy as OG Anunoby and Markieff Morris exchanged shoves after a questionable foul from OG. In a 2:00 minute timespan at the end of the quarter, the Wizards went on a 12-0 scoring run to take control of the lead. The Raptors trailed 29-30.

The Wizards went off on the offensive end as they scored 39 points on the Raptors in the 2nd quarter. John Wall put up 13 points and 6 assists, while Beal went for 7 points. Jonas Valanciunas led Toronto with 9 points in the period. Toronto was trailing 61-69 heading into the break.

Wall and Beal kept on dominating the Raptors, combining for 12 points in the period. Kyle Lowry and DeRozan both went for 5 points in the quarter, which was about half of all of the points Toronto scored in the quarter. On the last possession of the period, Washington's Ty Lawson was able to break free from the defense and throw up a long three-pointer as time expired. Lawson's shot floated into the basket as the clock hit 0.0, putting the Wizards up by 19 points. The Raptors trailed 82-101.

The Raptors emptied their bench and let the reserves take over in the 4th quarter towards the end. Toronto made an executive decision to give their starters rest and get prepared for the next game. The Bench Mob scored 14 of Toronto's 21 points in the period. The Raptors were defeated by the Wizards 103-122 off of huge performances from John Wall (28pts, 6 rebounds, 14 assists)and Bradley Beal (28pts, 4 rebounds, 4 assists).
(TOR leads 2-1)

6ix Best
DeMar DeRozan: 23pts, 3 rebounds, 4 assists
Kyle Lowry: 19pts, 8 assists, 3 steals
Jonas Valanciunas: 14pts, 5 rebounds
OG Anunoby: 12pts, 3 rebounds
C.J. Miles: 9pts
Delon Wright: 6pts


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Game Review: Raptors vs Wizards (Round 1 - Game 2)

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


The Raptors were on fire to start out the game, going on a 12-4 run. DeMar DeRozan led the squad with 13 points, while Jonas Valanciunas added on 7 points and 8 rebounds. Toronto shot 58.3% from the floor to put them ahead 44-27. 44 points in a quarter is now the franchise record for point scored in a quarter as the Raptors lead by 17..

C.J. Miles had an amazing quarter of play in the 2nd period. Miles dropped 11 points off of a couple of three-pointers and a monstrous dunk. Mike Scott was a pleasant surprise for Washington, scoring 6 points in the quarter. Toronto had hit 11 three-pointers in the 1st half, a franchise record for the Raptors. Toronto led the Wizards 76-58 going into halftime.

The Wizards played great team basketball going into the 3rd quarter, coming off a half in which they gave up 75 points. John Wall dropped 14 points for Washington, eventually cutting down the Toronto lead to 10 points. DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 11 points in the period. The Raptors led 100-90.

At the 11:40 mark in the period, Pascal Siakam punched a monstrous dunk and got fouled by Washington's Mike Scott. The Raptors then went on a 17-4 scoring run. With 3:40 left in the game, Kyle Lowry threw up a half court alley-oop to Delon Wright. Delon slammed home the fast break dunk, cause the crowd and bench to erupt. The Raptors defeated the Wizards 130-119. (TOR leads 2-0)

6ix Best
DeMar DeRozan: *37pts, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 19pts, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks
Kyle Lowry: 13pts, 7 rebounds, 12 assists
C.J. Miles: 18pts, 4/6 3PM
Serge Ibaka: 10pts, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, +/- 32
Delon Wright: 11pts, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Maintaining The Raptors' Rotations

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


       Once you get to the NBA playoffs, a lot of teams will shrink their regular rotation of players. They’ll go from their normal group of 10 to 12 guys to about 7 or 8 guys that they ride heavily throughout the playoffs. We’ve only seen one game from the Raptors so far this postseason, (a 114-106 win over the Wizards yesterday) but it seems pretty clear that the Raptors won’t be shrinking their rotation at all in the playoffs.

       In Saturday’s win, the Raptors used 11 different players. They were able to get a lots of different guys out there, and it worked very well for them. It worked especially well in the 4th quarter, when Dwane Casey turned to Lucas Nogueira off of the bench. Nogueira came into the game and impacted it positively on both the offensive and defensive side of the floor. His long arms were able to alter some shots defensively, and he set some good screens on offense. He also made a great pass to set up a huge 3 from C.J. Miles. This great performance from Bebe showed a few things about the Raptors.

     First of all, their depth is a huge asset, since coach Casey can turn to anyone he wants and have the utmost confidence that they’ll play well. It also showed how Casey and the Raptors won’t be shortening the bench now that it’s the playoffs; they’re going to stick with what has worked to this point.

     Keeping the rotation at 10-12 guys is the right move for the Raptors. Considering how much success their bench has had this season, it would be counterproductive to not play them as much as they normally have this year. This situation is different for a team like the Timberwolves, who ride their starters throughout the year anyway. Their bench was never that good, so it makes sense that they would stick with their starters and a shorter bench. But, for a team like the Raptors, they have no reason to turn away from their depth and great bench, and that’s why Casey did what he did yesterday, and why he’ll continue to do that throughout what we all hope is a long playoff run.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 57

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 57

"MONKEY'S OFF THE BACK"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Weekly Toronto Blue Jays Review/Preview

  • They did it. The Toronto Raptors have broken their franchise curse by winning a Game 1 in Round 1 of the Playoffs. Not only were they victorious, but the team - as a whole - showed up and proved that they are legitimately the number one team in the Eastern Conference. No longer are they bound by silly curses and narratives that doubters blindly apply to them out of laziness and lack of research. This truly is a different Raptors team than in years past.
  • With Game 1 out of the way, host Adam Corsair is joined by musician, producer, composer, DJ, and die-hard Toronto Raptors fan, Max Graham, to break it all down. Max and Adam unpack what they noticed during Game 1 for the team; where their strengths are and what they need to work on; they discuss the loss that Cleveland suffered and if that shifts the narrative in favor of the Raptors; who stood out in our minds for the Raptors in Game 1 and if it is sustainable; and we preview Games 2, 3, & 4. 

It's a PLAYOFF episode on your Toronto Raptors that you won't want to miss!

Follow Max on Twitter: @MaxGraham
Listen to Max's work: HERE

Music:
Anitek - "Pipes"
Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Game Review: Raptors vs Wizards (Round 1 - Game 1)

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


The Toronto Raptors host the Washington Wizards at the Air Canada Centre for game 1 of the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Toronto got off to a fast start, led by the rookie OG Anunoby. OG dropped 8 points, while Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas combined for 13. John Wall led the Wizards with 9 points and 3 assists. The Raptors led Washington 28-23.

The Wizards exploded in the 2nd and picked apart the Raptors defense. Washington dropped 36 points in the period led off of Mike Scott's 8 points. Toronto struggled on defense as they allowed Washington to score 36 points in the quarter. Ibaka helped the Raptors out by scoring 8 points. Toronto trailed 55-59.

DeMar DeRozan took over in the 3rd quarter, dropping 12 points with ease. The Raptors had an impressive shooting performance form behind the arc, going 5/6 on three-pointers. Bradley Beal was the highest scorer for Washington with 8 points, but the Wizards still trailed at the end of the 3rd quarter. Toronto led 86-85 going into the final period of play.

The Raptors played nearly a perfect quarter that would close out the game in their favor. Delon Wright went off and dropped 11 points, while C.J. Miles put up 6 points. With 5:37 remaining in the game, Kyle Lowry drove in and threw up a shot between two defenders that landed right in the basket. His layup fired up the crowd and the bench. The Raptors closed out the Wizards 114-106. (TOR leads 1-0)

6ix Best:
Serge Ibaka: 23pts, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks
Delon Wright: 18pts, 4 assists, 3 steals
DeMar DeRozan: 17pts, 6 assists
OG Anunoby: 12pts, 2 rebounds
C.J. Miles: 12pts, 2 rebounds
Kyle Lowry: 11pts, 9 assists


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


The Toronto Raptors' Game 1 Playoff Drought is Finally Over!

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Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


“So that’s what it feels like,” is what Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas had to say after Toronto’s first ever round one game one playoff victory in 17 long years.

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards 114-106 on Saturday on an ice stormy evening in Toronto. The gathering party to be held outside the Air Canada Centre - also known as “Jurassic Park” - was closed for the day due to the aforementioned poor weather. The game was even delayed an extra five minutes due to a leak from the roof which was dripping onto the court. “Let’s Go Raptors” chants roared down at the ACC in wait for this intense playoff match-up as fans couldn’t wait to see this new looked Raptors team see what they got for this year’s hopeful championship run.

Going into the game Saturday night, the Raptors were without leading bench point guard Fred VanVleet due to a shoulder injury. Although Dwane Casey doesn’t expect him to be out long-term, it is still a big loss nonetheless. And with that, the game is underway. It only took one second for the first foul of the game to be called on Wizards centre Marcin Gortat who got called for a bit of questionable loose ball foul on Valanciunas. A few minutes after, Gortat picked up his second foul as the Wizards were forced to go to their bench and Ian Mahinmi checked in.

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The Raptors didn’t take long getting to the punch shortly after, going on 8-0 run quickly going up 10-4 forcing Scott Brooks to call an early timeout. Wizards came out of the timeout with a quick answer going on their own mini 4-0 run. Then the foul trouble kicked in again when Ian Mahinmi picked up two fouls with 6:40 to go in the first. This forced Scott Brooks to put in their third centre, Mike Scott, who finished the game with 14 points in 25 minutes of play. Onward we go, as Washington closed the first quarter on an 8-4 run. But despite the runs put on by both teams, the Raptors led by five behind the rookie OG Anunoby’s 8 points and two threes.

A few minutes into the second quarter, CJ Miles and Delon Wright went on to hit back-to-back-to-back threes putting up a combined 11-4 run,. This forced Washington to call another timeout with the ACC rocking. The Wizards, though, came out of the timeout firing; getting stops and making buckets, going on a 9-0 run to regain a 42-41 lead. This is the first time they’ve led since the game was 4-2 in the first quarter. Washington didn’t stop there, holding that lead all the way into halftime with the score of 59-55. Toronto's scoring efforts were largely behind Serge Ibaka’s 14 points and OG with 10. All-stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were held to just seven points combined in the first 24 minutes.

But you didn’t think they’d continue to not be a factor, right? Coming out of the half DeRozan put on his own 5-0 run where he helped Toronto turn that into a 11-2 run and shooting 3/3 from three. What was a combined seven points between the two all-stars at halftime quickly turned into 15. The Raptors continued to lead throughout the quarter and held an 86-85 lead going into the fourth and final quarter in this thrilling game one. Ibaka had 21 points and 7 rebounds, and DeRozan put up 12 in the quarter leading to a combined 17 points heading into the final quarter.

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The fourth quarter got underway with Lowry being the only starter on the court playing with the bench unit. Having Lowry to start the fourth deemed to be a good idea as he would drive to the rim having a one on one with Mike Scott where Scott would extend out his shoulder fouling Lowry hard as he hit the deck. The play would be reviewed and Scott picked up a flagrant foul. We also saw our first look at Lucas Nogueira which turned out to be a great decision, throwing something new at the Wizards. It made an impact right away, specifically on a Morris drive, forcing him to switch his shot due to the length of Nogueira. That defensive effort would be huge as the Raptors sprinted up the court in transition leading to a CJ Miles three. He wasn’t finished there. CJ Miles would then hit another three only seconds later as Toronto went on a quick 7-0 run as another Washington timeout was called with Toronto up 4 with 9:26 to go.

The Wizards weren’t backing down though. They come out of their timeout on a 5-0 run to now lead by one. But with 6:28 to go, the Raptors had an answer. In what was a great defending decision by Delon Wright to pressure the inbound to force a turnover. He then found Nogueira who made a quick outside pass to  CJ Miles for another three, leading to another Toronto run. The ACC went crazy, to the point that you couldn’t hear the whistle. With an 8-0 run established and another Wizards timeout, the Raptors never looked back. At the 4:08 mark with the Raptors up 9, the Washington hit their first field goal of the quarter. Although it wasn’t just the lack of offense that gave away the game for Washington, but Toronto also took care of the ball extremely well in the fourth, only giving up one turnover.

With 1:40 to go and the Raptors up by 10, the crowd got up on their feet, realizing that the Toronto Raptors would finally win a round one game one playoff game in over 17 years. The Raptors held that lead and defeated the Wizards 114-106. John Wall shot 6/20 in the game, only having one assist and one field goal made in the fourth. It wasn’t easy, but Toronto will take it. Behind Serge Ibaka's double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds, the Raptors had DeRozan’s 17 points and Delon Wright’s 18 points. Wright did a fantastic job filling in those extra minutes for Fred VanVleet who can very well be in the lineup for game two. Toronto leads the series 1-0 and play at home one more time before heading to Washington for games three and four.

Let’s hope for some better weather in Toronto in the coming days. Game two goes down Tuesday at 8 p.m.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


HEAR THIS! Previewing the Playoffs on the Hashtag Raptors Podcast!

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Follow Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


I was a guest on the Hashtag Raptors Podcast with host Jordan Kligman to preview the upcoming playoff series against the Washington Wizards. 

Jordan and I break down a variety of topics and address the paranoia in the air among the Raptors' fanbase. We offer our opinions as to what the Raptors ought to do on both ends of the court, who needs to step up, and our predictions of who will win the series and the amount of games that it will take.

Make sure you (gently) subscribe to the show on whichever podcast platform that you use! It's embedded below, but you should still like, share, subscribe, all of that good and fun stuff!

Enjoy!

Follow Host Jordan Kligman on Twitter: @416Basketball


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Game Review: Raptors at Heat

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


Toronto started off the game by feeding the ball the Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas. Kyle dropped 7 points, while JV put up 6 points and 2 blocks. Hasaan Whiteside was a beast for the Heat as he grabbed 8 rebounds like it was nothing. Miami's Tyler Johnson scored a team high 7 points in the period. The Raptors led 29-27 after one.

The Raptors continued their dominant play from the 1st quarter over into the 2nd. In the last two minutes of the half, DeMar DeRozan dropped 8 points. Jakob Poeltl was a force in the post, putting up 8 like it was nothing. Wayne Ellington led the Heat with 5 points, which was just the start of a huge game for him. Toronto was up by 6 points going into the break, the score set at 53-47.

Lowry led the Raptors with 8 points coming out of halftime. DeMar and JV combined for 7 in the period. The Heat out-rebounded Toronto 16-14, but the Raptors still maintained the lead. There was a combined 7 blocks recorded in the quarter, an abnormally high number for blocks. The Raptors were up 78-71 heading into the final period of play.

Wayne Ellington was unstoppable for the Heat in the 4th quarter. The last time the Raptors and the Heat squared off, Ellington hit the game-winner. In the 4th quarter, Wayne hit 6 three-pointers for 18 points. Lowry fired back with 11 points of his own, but Toronto ended up forfeiting their lead late in the quarter. After going back and forth for the last couple of minutes, the game was set to go into overtime. The score was all tied up at 105-105.

Overtime: The Heat owned overtime as they outscored Toronto 11-4. Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow put up 6 for the Heat. Miami out-rebounded the Raptors by 3 boards. The Raptors were defeated by the Heat 109-116.

6ix Best
Kyle Lowry: 28pts, 10 rebounds, 9 assists
DeMar DeRozan: 19pts, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Jakob Poeltl: 16pts, 12 rebounds, 3 steals
Jonas Valanciunas: 12pts, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks
Delon Wright: 9pts
C.J. Miles: 7pts


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 55

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EPISODE 55

"ROUND TABLE PLAYOFF PREVIEW"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


Weekly Toronto Raptors Review/Preview

  • History has been made as the Toronto Raptors have finished as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Not only have they made history in terms of seeding, but also in regards to their win total, as they have (currently) garnered 59 wins; one game and win away from hitting the unpredictable 60 win mark. What an amazing and special time to be a Toronto Raptors fan!
  • However, there are still many questions that are left unresolved within the collective minds of the Raptors' fanbase. Historically, the Raptors have not performed as well as we would like them to, but they haven't played nearly as awful as the U.S. media would like you to think. Is this the year that everything falls into place and they finally do the unthinkable and reach the NBA Finals?
  • To preview the Raptors in the Playoffs, our very own Adam Corsair hosts this special ROUND TABLE discussion with an incredible group of guests. Joining Adam is cohost of the very first all-female led Raptors podcast - The Raptors Roundup - Abigail Amartey, jounralist for Tip of the Tower - Demar Grant, and journalist for Hash Tag Basketball and cohost of the Hash Tag Raptors Podcast - Jordan Kligman. One of the most in-depth and articulate Round Tables we have had the pleasure of producing and it's one that you certainly will enjoy!

So join us in our efforts to get you ready for the Raptors in their first every No.1 seeded Playoff run!

Follow Jordan on Twitter: @416Basketball

Subscribe to the Hashtag Raptors Podcast on iTunes HERE

Visit Jordan's work HERE

Follow Demar on Twitter: @DemarJGrant 

Visit Demar's work HERE

Follow Abigail on Twitter: @aamartey1

Listen to the Raptors Roundup Podcast HERE

Music:
Anitek - "Pipes"
Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Auxl Studios - "Blue Bloods"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Game Review: Raptors at Pistons

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


The Raptors and the Pistons were neck-and-neck throughout the 1st quarter, with neither team gaining the edge over the other. The Pistons were led by Luke Kennard and his 10 points. Toronto was led by Jonas Valanciunas, who dropped 11 points coming off of a game he did not play due to rest. DeMar DeRozan also had a great quarter coming off of a game he rested in, recording 7 points and 4 rebounds. The score was tied up 32-32 after one.

Toronto always seem to struggle when it comes to guarding the Pistons backup Point Guard Ish Smith. Smith dropped 9 points with ease and he picked apart the defense for some easy assists. The Raptors had a very poor shooting performance from beyond the arc, missing a total of 10 three-pointers attempted. With 2:48 remaining in the half, JV posterized Detriot's Stanley Johnson on a vicious dunk. JV proceeded to yell "AND ONE!" in Johnson's face. Toronto rallied back from 17 points down to only 3 points down. The Raptors trailed Detriot 57-60.

Valanciunas continued to be a nightmare in the post in the 3rd quarter. JV dropped 8 points coming out of halftime, and he could just not be stopped. Kyle Lowry had 6 points in the period. At the 9:24 mark in the quarter, Valanciunas had another huge dunk on a Pistons player, this time Eric Moreland on the other side of it. JV caught the ball on his hip and flushed home the dunk with one hand. The Raptors led the Pistons 85-80.

Toronto's Bench Mob took over in the final quarter of play, led by Jakob Poeltl. Jak had 8 points, while Two-Way player Lorenzo Brown dropped 7. With 7:43 remaining in the game, Jakob had a monsterous dunk over two Detriot defenders. Then at the 7:11 mark, Alfonzo McKinnie had a beautiful put-back dunk off of a Delon Wright missed layup. This basically sealed the game up for Toronto. The Raptors defeated the Pistons 108-98.

6ix Best
Jonas Valanciunas: 25pts, 9 rebounds
DeMar DeRozan: 16pts, 3 rebounds, 7 assists
Kyle Lowry: 11pts, 6 rebounds, 9 assists
Jakob Poeltl: 12pts, 7 rebounds
Lorenzo Brown: 11pts, 5 rebounds
Pascal Siakam: 10pts, 6 rebounds, +/- 24


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Game Review: Raptors vs Magic

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


The Raptors exploded on offense as soon as the game got started. With a barrage from beyond the arc, Toronto dropped 35 points in the quarter. Jakob Poeltl led the squad with 7 points off the bench, while Delon Wright and C.J. Miles combined for 12. OG Anunoby added on 5 points of his own. Orlando was led by D.J. Augustin and his 7 points. The Raptors led 35-24.

Toronto continued their dominance on offense, shooting exceptionally well for a second straight quarter. Miles scored 7 points off of three-pointers and free throws, while Norman Powell had 6 points. Shelvin Mack put up 7 points for the Magic in the period, but his team still trailed after two quarters. Toronto was ahead 61-50 going into halftime.

The Small Forwards for Toronto picked up where they left off in the 1st half. Anunoby dropped 11 points, while Miles scored 8. With 1:50 remaining in the period, Pascal Siakam got the ball and tried to posterize Orlando's Aaron Gordon. Gordon rejected his dunk and slapped the ball out of bounds. His block electrified the Magic's bench. Toronto was ahead by 15 points, the score set at 89-74.

Powell showed out in the final quarter of the game. Norm played his heart out and hustled after loose balls and steals, and he scored a total of 7 points in the quarter. The 4th quarter was the only quarter that the Magic managed to outscored Toronto in. The Raptors defeated the Magic 112-101.

6ix Best
OG Anunoby: *21pts, 8 rebounds, 5/8 3PM
C.J. Miles: 22pts, 3 rebounds
Serge Ibaka: 13pts, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks
Norman Powell: 13pts, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3stl
Delon Wright: 12pts, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Jakob Poeltl: 12pts, 5 rebounds

* = Career High


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Game Review: Raptors vs Pacers

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


Serge Ibaka led the charge for Toronto coming out of the gates. Serge dropped 10 points with ease over the Pacers. Kyle Lowry recorded 4 assists in the quarter. Jakob Poeltl was subbed in late, and his presence was immediately felt. Poeltl scored 6 points as he dominated the post. The Raptors played outstanding defense as they held the Pacers to only 14 points in the quarter. Toronto led 26-14.

Both Indiana and Toronto had a sloppy 2nd quarter. After a number of turnovers and fouls, both teams scored 19 points. The Raptors were led by Jonas Valanciunas, who scored 5 points. Trevor Booker was the leading scorer for the Pacers with 5 points. The Raptors led 45-33 going into halftime.

Ibaka was a beast coming out of halftime and throughout the 3rd quarter. After struggling on offense for the past few games, he showed that he got his groove back. Serge dropped 12 points, some of those come from three-pointers. Toronto played great defense on Indiana again in the 3rd quarter, this time holding them to only 16 points. Toronto was ahead by 23 points, the score set at 72-49.

With the game basically over, both the Raptors and the Pacers cleared their benches. Glenn Robinson III performed well in the period as he dropped 8 points. Delon Wright and C.J. Miles combined for 12 points to close out the game for Toronto. With this win, the Raptors earned a franchise record of 57 wins, and they also secured the #1 seed in the Eastern conference. The Raptors defeated the Pacers 92-73.

6ix Best
Serge Ibaka: 25pts, 8 rebounds
DeMar DeRozan: 12pts, 5 rebounds, 8 assists
Jakob Poeltl: 10pts, 5 rebounds
Kyle Lowry: 9pts, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks
Jonas Valanciunas: 8pts, 12 rebounds
Delon Wright: 8pts, 3 rebounds, 4 assists


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The Toronto Raptors Are Eastern Conference Champions. But Still Many Questions to Ask.

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Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


History again!

Over the years the Toronto Raptors are not new to cracking open the record books and breaking franchise and NBA records. Last night, they broke another record making more history.

Entering last night, the Toronto Raptors had four regular season games remaining. Playing at home to the Indiana Pacers on the final OVO night of the season. The Raptors had a chance to take care of business and lock up first place in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history, as well as also be the most winningest Raptors team in team history with over 56 wins.

Locking up first place in the East means home court advantage throughout the playoffs; besides the NBA Finals depending on if they make it there and who they were to face. Big accomplishment on the line nonetheless. The Raptors came out flying against the Pacers starting the first quarter on a roll with a 22-6 run and ultimately leading Indiana 26-14 behind Serge Ibaka’s ten points after 12 minutes of play in Toronto.

The second quarter is where the Raptors continued to roll, holding their 12-point lead into halftime. Coming out of the half, the Raptors dominance continued. Only 24 minutes away from clinching the Eastern Conference. Heading into the 4th, the Raptors had a 23-point lead behind Ibaka’s 25 points and 8 rebounds. He ended up finishing the game with as the Raptors leading scoring in just 25 minutes played as the bench came in in the 4th finishing off the game smoothly with everybody getting play time. The Raptors never trailed in this game, leading all the way through from tip-off till the final whistle. You can definitely say business was taken care of.

With the final seconds ticking down and Raptors dribbling out the ball at half court, the crowd got to their feet knowing what was it at stake with this victory. The 2017-2018 Toronto Raptors now have 57 regular season wins and is now the most winningest team to date in the franchise’s history. Also with this win they, have clinched first place in the conference for the first time ever.

The Toronto Raptors now look ahead to a bigger and better task. The season is not over, and with the team sitting at 57 wins with three games remaining, the team now focuses on aiming to get 60 wins on the season. Although it won’t be easy, the Raptors will have to get through the Orlando Magic tomorrow night at the ACC. This is the final home game of the season for Toronto before the playoffs. After this game, they head to Detroit for a back-to-back against the Pistons who were recently eliminated from playoff contention. After both of those games, the Raptors then head to Miami for game 82. A potential first round match up against the Heat, these two teams know each other very well. With Dwayne Wade’s return to Miami, him and the Raptors previously had a playoff series in 2016 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals where the Heat forced Toronto to game 7. This won’t be an easy task for Toronto. Will Dwane Casey realize this history that is at stake and risk playing his starters before the playoffs to get them geared up and risk injury to secure history and a 60th regular season win? Or will Casey rest his starters and give the strong bench and young guns some high minutes in the season finale? It could all come down to if that game actually means something and the Raptors were to sit at 59 wins entering that game.

Although Miami can be a potential first round match up for Toronto, they currently sit in 6th place with two teams below them by just 1 game - the Milwaukee bucks in 7th, and the Washington Wizards in 8th. This means that the Toronto Raptors can see any of these teams in the first round. The Raptors are 1-1 this season vs the Heat, losing their first match-up by one point in Toronto. They then defeated Miami by three on their home court. If these two teams meet up again in the playoffs, we could be in for another 7-game series.

If the Raptors were to meet the Milwaukee Bucks in round one, they too sit at a 1-1 record against the Bucks this season. Both were high scoring affairs the Raptors seem to have a tough time containing the Greek All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo - who had 20+ points in both meetings - and Khris Middleton. Both of their length at the Small Forward position can cause problems for the Raptors as it has been all season even with the come up of OG Anunoby. Back in the 2017 playoff series between the two, Antetokounmpo averaged 24.8 ppg while Middleton averaged 14.5ppg; the two highest scorers on the team during that series. My point exactly. It would be a tough battle. Potentially another 7-game series on the brinks if these two teams met up once again in a first round clash.

And last but not least, the Washington Wizards. Yet another team the Raptors are familiar with. Toronto currently has a 2-2 record against the Wizards this season with all meetings having a point differential of just under 11 points. Although the Wizards swept the Raptors back in 2015, this is a new look Raptors team which is currently at its best. The Wizards, as well, have a great squad with the all-star of John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards have had a tough season with the loss of John Wall throughout due to injury, but this team has had high expiations all season. Not a lot of people had them seeded 8th going into the NBA playoffs, and they still tend to give the Raptors problems.

None of these teams should be overlooked, as all three are great. It’s only a matter of time before the historic Raptors find out who they will play in round one of the 2018 NBA playoffs kicking off on April 14th.

But for now, the quest for 60 wins and more history is on.


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Game Review: Raptors vs Celtics

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


Toronto had a very slow start to the game. Only 14 points in the 1st quarter, this was one of of the Raptors least productive quarters. DeMar DeRozan led the squad with 5 points, while Boston's Jaylen Brown and Greg Monroe combined for 10. Toronto trailed the Celtics 14-20.

The Raptors Bench Mob took over in the 2nd quarter on both ends of the game. They held Boston to only 13 points in the period, and scored 20 out of the 29 points for Toronto. The Raptors also out-rebounded the Celtics 13-12. Each team had an atrocious offensive quarter thus far in a game that could determine the #1 seed in the East. The Raptors led the Celtics 43-33 heading into halftime.

DeRozan led the charge for the Raptors coming out of the break. Deebo dropped 8 points with ease, using his amazing footwork to get open shots. Norman Powell struggled on offense, but he grabbed 4 rebounds to make up for it. Marcus Morris went for 8 points, while Al Horford put up 6 for the Celtics. With 7:40 remaining in the period, OG Anunoby had a huge put-back dunk off of a Jonas Valanciunas missed shot. He brought life into the arena and gave Toronto the momentum. The Raptors were ahead 67-53.

Toronto emptied their bench for the 4th quarter as the game was basically over. The Raptors left Serge Ibaka in the game to gain some confidence as he has been seriously struggling with his shot. Ibaka went for 9 points in the quarter, which will hopefully transpire into future games. Fred VanVleet added on 8 points. Morris and Horford combined for 12 points as they tried to bring Boston back into the game, but it was too late. The Raptors defeated the Celtics 96-78 in one of their most important games of the season.

6ix Best:

DeMar DeRozan: 16pts, 3 rebounds

Serge Ibaka: 15pts, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks

Fred VanVleet: 15pts, 3 rebounds, 4 assists

Kyle Lowry: 13pts, 5 rebounds, 5 assists

Jakob Poeltl: 9pts, 3 rebounds

Delon Wright: 8pts, 9 rebounds, 8 assists


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Game Review: Raptors at Cavaliers

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Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


The Raptors nameplate coming out of the gates was to feed their big men, and that's exactly what they did. Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka went for a combined total of 16 points. Cleveland's José Calderon had a remarkable 1st quarter. The former Raptor PG dropped 11 points off of an exceptional shooting performance. LeBron James was unstoppable as usual, scoring 10 points in the period. Toronto trailed 24-28.

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors during the second quarter of the game. DeRozan scored 6 points in his normal fashion; through a barrage of mid-range shots. Delon Wright added on 5 for Toronto. Kevin Love and Rodney Hood went off in the quarter as the two combined for 18 points off of a number of three-pointers made. With less than 1.4 seconds left, Kyle Lowry kicked the ball out to OG Anunoby, who knocked down a three-pointer over Hood to end the half. The Raptors trailed the Cavs 52-60.

JV and Ibaka continued their dominance coming out of halftime, this time combining for 13 points. DeRozan dropped 7 in the quarter. The Raptors out-rebounded the Cavaliers 13-11, but it did not seem to give them any extra advantage. LeBron went for 6 points in the quarter, while Jeff Green dropped 5. Toronto was down by 8 points going into the final quarter of play, the score set at 78-86.

Toronto relied on their bench to regain the lead, but they just weren't able to get it done. Fred VanVleet dropped 6 points, but it never brought the Raptors within one possession of taking control of the lead. In the last 2:07 of the game, Toronto subbed Norman Powell into the game in hopes of getting some quick points if the board. Norm delivered on that goal and dropped 7 points in that amount of time. Cleveland kept finding ways to score on the Raptors, which was the main reason why they won this game. The Toronto Raptors were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-112.

6ix Best
DeMar DeRozan: 19pts, 3 rebounds, 7 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 17pts, 10 rebounds
Serge Ibaka: 16pts, 12 rebounds
Pascal Siakam: 10pts, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Fred VanVleet: 9pts, 6 assists
C.J. Miles: 8pts


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SOT6 Podcast - Episode 53

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EPISODE 53

"Polyester > 100% Cotton"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


Weekly Toronto Raptors Review/Preview

  • The Raptors were on the receiving end of a devastating loss this past Saturday evening in Boston, cutting their lead of 1st in the East to just 2 games. With the Celtics creeping up on the Raptors, and with the team starting to slow down a bit, it's fair to wonder just what happened to the dominate North that we're familiar with. What is up with CJ Miles' poor March? Is DeMar's personal issues interfering with his play on the court? Has OG hit the rookie wall? And what will it take for the Raptors to solidify that number one seed?
  • To unpack these topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by the co-host of the Hash Tag Raptors Podcast as well as a writer for Hash Tag Basketball, frequent guest - Jordan Kligman. Jordan and Adam dive deep into the aforementioned topics, as well as others such as whether or not the American media is now justified with their slander; whether or not the Raptors should purposely fall to 2nd if the Cavs fall to 4th; their 5 most important Raptor players for the playoffs; and their predictions for the upcoming games.

It's a Raptors show that you don't want to miss!

Follow Jordan on Twitter: Follow Jordan on Twitter: @416Basketball
Subscribe to the Hashtag Raptors Podcast on iTunes HERE
Visit Jordan's work HERE

Music:
Anitek - "Pipes"
Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


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4th Quarter Breakdown Costs Raps in Eastern Conference Showdown

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Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


After a four-day layoff, the Raptors were back in action tonight against the team currently chasing them in the Eastern Conference for that number one seed and home court advantage in the playoffs - the Boston Celtics. Heading into the game, with only seven games remaining in the regular season for both teams, the Raptors had a three-game lead against their division rivals who were also coming into the game on a bit of a roll winning five in a row. Fresh off winning four straight vs Western Conference opponents, with the most recent one being a buzzer beating three by Jalen Brown to lift the Celtics over the Utah Jazz.  

Entering the game, the Celtics had reinforcements back in their rotation, having Al Horford back in the starting lineup and Marcus Morris back on the bench. With Kyrie Irving still out due to injury, the young Terry Rozier started at point guard for the Celtics. Also coming into the game, the Raptors and Celtics have, so far, split their season series between the two at 1 game apiece, with both teams winning each of those games on their respected home courts.

Six minutes into the game, Raptors were in control and playing at their familiar tempo; fast-paced basketball that they’ve been playing all season long. But with the Celtics not going away easy, it was a back and forth first quarter with plenty of ties and lead changes all throughout. Toronto ended up having a slim margin lead on the Celtics, 33-31 after 12 minutes of play at TD Garden. Six of those 31 first quarter Boston points coming from Aron Baynes who hit two threes where he shot the three ball a combined 0/12 all season long until tonight.

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After such a high scoring first 12 minutes, the second quarter was different, with both teams only putting up a combined 44 points. Despite the Raptors putting up a 7-0 run with two minutes remaining in the second quarter, they had their biggest lead in the game (5-point lead) at that point. But the Raptors were ultimately leading the Celtics 55-53 in Boston at halftime.

Coming out of halftime, the game continued to fluctuate with more ties and lead changes with neither team getting a real grasp on the game and taking a big lead. Although, with 6:52 in the third quarter, the Raptors gained their biggest lead of six points behind Jonas Valanciunas’ 13 points and ten rebounds and DeMar DeRozan’s 17 points, four rebounds and five assists at that point. The Celtics did battle back, tying the game and taking the lead within the final minutes of the third quarter. But Toronto battled back slightly when DeRozan took matters into his own hands. He scored another nine points in that quarter, including the final four points to regain a 2-point Raptors lead heading to the fourth and final quarter behind DeMar’s 28.

Starting the fourth quarter for Dwane Casey’s squad was the bench unit, who wasn’t having the best night getting out-scored 27-14. Eleven of those 14 bench points came from Fred VanVleet. With the bench still struggling, there was a switch in momentum a few minutes into the fourth quarter with the bench not generating much on both ends. Raptors were quickly behind four with 8:43 to go and a Casey timeout was called. Coming out of the timeout, the Raptors got stops defensively and went on a 4-0 run with 6:32 to go to tie up the game once again. Norman Powell received key minutes down the stretch due to horrible lack of play and production from CJ Miles who went 0/6 on the night and had four turnovers. Not an ideal night from the Raptors guard and something the fan base hasn’t seen all season. Despite Toronto tying the game with 6:32 to go, the Celtics once again pulled away, gaining a six-point lead with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t looking too good for Toronto as Boston continued to have their foot on the gas, now extending their lead to eight with 3:30 to go currently being on a 12-2 run. From there, the Celtics never looked back. Marcus Morris singlehandedly out-scored the Raptors bench putting up 25 points compared to the 20 bench points put up by Toronto.

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It was a fourth quarter disaster for Toronto as they were out-scored by a total of 13 in the quarter, shooting 7-21 (33%) and 1-10 from three with a team combined 7 turnovers. It also didn’t help that Toronto scored only five points in the final seven minutes. With the final seconds ticking down and the Celtics up 11, the game got a little scrappy. A bit of a scuffled occurred between Marcus Morris and Miles, which resulted in a foul called on the latter. Morris then got into Miles’ face which concluded in both of them picking up double technicals. With Morris heading to the free throw line, he then proceeded to pat a referee on the back side and reportedly saying “good game," leading to an ejection from the game. Although it didn’t change much in the outcome of the game, the Celtics ultimately defeated the Raptors 110-99 behind DeMar DeRozan’s 32-7-7 game and have cut the Raptors first place lead in the east to just two games.

The Raptors now move on to Cleveland where they visit LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Tuesday. They then find themselves back home the day after for another, but final meeting with the Celtics this regular season. This first-place lead for Toronto can quickly disappear with six games left on the season. If Boston defeats Toronto in their next meeting, the Raptors will lose the tiebreaker, as Boston will earn the season series between the two and will then go on to finish first in the conference.


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