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Raptors clinch playoff spot with win over Hawks

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TORONTO – Nick Nurse stated he had an thought at first of the season how he needed the Toronto Raptors to play. However whether or not they may pull it off remained to be seen.

The Raptors clinched a playoff spot with a 118-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, and Nurse praised his group for the way far they’d come.

“I believe they’ve shaped some form of identification, it’s a bit quirky and a bit completely different however it’s a hard-playing, aggressive identification and so they discovered a technique to grind out sufficient wins to get ’em on this scenario,” the Raptors coach stated.

Pascal Siakam had 31 factors and 13 rebounds to prepared the ground. Scottie Barnes added 19 factors and 14 rebounds, whereas Chris Boucher added 18 factors, and Gary Trent Jr., completed with 14 for the Raptors (46-33) of their twelfth win in 15 video games.

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Fred VanVleet had 12 factors, whereas Treasured Achiuwa chipped in 11.

“It means lots . . . it’s a kind of issues the place you admire the journey,” stated VanVleet, who had a tough 4-for-21 capturing evening, however hit a key three-pointer with a few minute to play and the sport nonetheless doubtful.

Trae Younger had 26 factors to guide the Hawks (41-38), who noticed their five-game successful streak come to an finish.

With their victory and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 120-115 loss in Orlando, the Raptors can end no worse than sixth within the Japanese Convention. Chicago’s loss to Milwaukee later Tuesday noticed the Raptors transfer into fifth, a sport forward of the Bulls. With the East so tightly packed, the Raptors may not know their post-season opponent till the ultimate video games are performed on Sunday.

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Avoiding the play-in match was key, Nurse stated, each for the additional six days off between video games, and what the expertise of a post-season collection would imply to his younger group.

“My objective, or our objective, all the time for me, was to ensure we received right into a collection,” he stated. “I simply suppose it’s super-important for our group to expertise that, the depth, the changes, the highlight . . . for all these video games is one thing you’ve received to undergo.”

The Raptors will host playoff video games at Scotiabank Enviornment for the primary time for the reason that thrilling 2019 NBA championship run.

“It’s wonderful, truthfully,” Boucher stated.

The 2020 season ended within the Disneyworld bubble as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, and the Raptors have been exiled to Tampa, Fla., for the next season on account of Canada-US border restrictions, and well being and security guidelines in Ontario. They didn’t make the 2021 playoffs anyhow, tumbling down the Japanese Convention amid a COVID-19 outbreak in March that decimated the group to complete twelfth.

“You form of get a bit jaded, a bit spoiled with anticipating to win,” VanVleet stated. “That was taken away from us final 12 months. Being right here on this place is sweet.

“Now it’s time to go see what we will do.”

Neither group dominated by the primary three quarters of Tuesday’s see-saw battle. After briefly main by seven factors within the first half, Boucher’s three-pointer with 2:28 left within the third gave the Raptors a nine-point cushion, their greatest result in that time. They took an 89-83 benefit into the fourth.

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Boucher related on back-to-back threes to start out the fourth quarter for a 10-point lead — the primary time both group had been up by double digits. However the Raptors went stone chilly. Younger adopted up his three-pointer with a layup to cap a 10-0 Hawks run that tied the sport at 102-102 with 4:29 to play.

Barnes scored on a putback, and VanVleet related from lengthy distance — simply his second three on a horrible 2-for-12 three-point capturing evening — and Toronto was again up by 5 with 1:03 to play, bringing the capability crowd of 19,800 to its toes. Barnes laid it in with 22 seconds to play, working again down the courtroom with a hand raised in victory.

Bogdan Bogdanovic drained a three-pointer however it was too little too late for the Hawks, who have been relegated to the play-in match with the loss.

The Raptors have been lacking starter OG Anunoby for the second straight sport with a thigh contusion.

“A lot improved, however nonetheless fairly sore,” Nurse stated.

The Raptors have been coming off a 114-109 loss to Kyle Lowry and the Miami Warmth that snapped their five-game win streak.

Neither group led by greater than seven factors by the primary half. Toronto was briefly up by 5 within the first quarter, however Younger’s jumper capped a Hawks’ 11-0 run to place Atlanta up by six. The Hawks led 31-27 to start out the second.

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Achiuwa drove to the ring for an enormous dunk that introduced the Raptors gamers off the bench and put them up by six factors. Siakam’s stepback shot with 9.7 seconds left within the half despatched Toronto into the break with a 56-52 lead.

The Raptors host the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday in what might be a playoff preview, after which Houston on Friday. They finish the common season on Sunday in opposition to the Knicks in New York.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed April 5, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press