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March 28. 2014 10:26PM

Celtics fall to Raptors in ninth straight road defeat


Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry at Air Canada Centre on Friday. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

TORONTO — Guard DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 30 points as the Toronto Raptors clinched their first playoff berth since 2008 with a 105-103 win over the Boston Celtics at the Air Canada Centre on Friday night.

With just 7.1 seconds remaining in the fourth, Raptors center Amir Johnson had his off-balance put back drop sealing the Toronto victory.

Johnson finished with eight points in the win. Guard Terrence Ross had 17 points while guard Greivis Vasquez had 15 points off the bench as the Raptors snap a five year playoff absence.

Toronto, who entered Friday leading Brooklyn by 2½ games for the Atlantic Division lead, can win its first division title since 2007.

Toronto (41-31) has now won three straight and five of six at home over the Celtics. The win improved the Raptors to 3-1 over the Celtics this season.

With the loss, Boston (23-49) has lost nine straight on the road. The Celtics are 8-27 away from home this season with their last road victory coming Feb. 10 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Boston used a 15-2 run to take their first lead, 101-95, of the quarter, erasing a Raptors lead, which was at 12 to start the fourth. However, Toronto used a late 6-0 run to keep pace and set up the Johnson winner.

DeRozan led the way with 12 third-quarter points as the Raptors used an early 6-0 run and then closed out on a 16-4 surge to take an 85-73 lead into the fourth.

Lowry left the game with 3:09 remaining in the second quarter favoring what appeared to be a right ankle injury

Lowry got tangled up with Celtics guard Avery Bradley after missing on a 3-point attempt. Lowry was helped off by Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas and a trainer. Once on the bench he left for the dressing room on his own.

Lowry has just two points while shooting 1-of-5 from the field in 14:51 of action.

Raptors closed the half on a 6-2 run to take a 56-53 lead into the break.

Lowry had his right ankle re-taped during halftime and returned to start the third.

Boston opened the game with up an 11-4 lead.

John Salmons replaced DeRozan, who picked up two early fouls, off the bench. Raptors opened shooting 1-for-6 from the field

Following a Toronto timeout, the Raptors go on a 6-0 run to pull to 11-10

After missing five of their first six from the field, Toronto hit eight of 10, closing the quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 32-26 lead after one quarter.


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Notes: Raptors coach Dwane Casey expects forward Patrick Patterson (elbow) back this weekend. ... Casey entered Friday three wins shy of 100 with the Raptors. ... Toronto snapped an 11-game skid in Boston on Wednesday night. The Raptors’ previous road win against the Celtics came Jan. 23, 2008. ... With the victory in Boston, Toronto reached 40 wins in a season for the first time since 2009-10. ... Celtics forward Jeff Green was battling a stiff neck but felt better at Friday morning’s shootaround and was in Boston’s starting lineup. ... Boston G Rajon Rondo received nine stitches to the bridge of his nose after a collision with Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez on Wednesday night.


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