Published: Sun, April 08, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Toronto Raptors: 5 reasons they will win the 2017/18 NBA Championship

Toronto Raptors: 5 reasons they will win the 2017/18 NBA Championship

Austin Rivers scored 18 points for Los Angeles, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute. Updates with new lead.

DeMar DeRozan scored a team-high 16 points as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Boston Celtics 96-78 on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) as the battle for the NBA's Eastern Conference supremacy heads down to the wire.

With the win, the Raptors own a three-game lead over Boston with four games to play.

It could have been moot had they taken care of business in Boston on Saturday, essentially locking down first place in the process.

"Think it could be our offensive (struggles) carrying over to the defensive end", DeRozan said. I didn't make shots tonight again, but I had a better effort.

With a 112-106 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers moved to 48-30, meaning the veteran point guard will finish the year with the best record he's ever had with an National Basketball Association franchise. He was held to just five points and three assists by Cavaliers guard Jose Calderon on Tuesday.

"Obviously these guys are well into the driver's seat on the one (seed)", Boston coach Brad Stevens said. He said it emphatically, as though it was his plan, early in the 2015-16 season, and he said it in February.

It's time for Dwane Casey's team to step up and prove they have the mental fortitude to succeed when the pressure is most intense. "We've still got work to do", Drew said.

Boston was playing without star Kyrie Irving, who missed his 11th game in a row after undergoing a left knee procedure.

James still isn't sure what the postseason may bring for Cleveland, which has eliminated Toronto in each of the past two postseasons.

Greg Monroe: One of the more consistent bright spots for the Celtics, Greg Monroe was indeed a presence around the rim and on the glass as he tallied 17 points on 4-for-7 shooting to go with eight rebounds and three assists. Boston scored 80 in a January 18 loss to Philadelphia. For those guys it means being in rhythm offensively, executing defensively and feeling good physically, but so much of it is mental. The previous meeting, Boston was running the floor and penetrating the paint continuously. The Celtics trimmed three games off their deficit during a six-game winning streak that was snapped Tuesday, and would clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win Wednesday.

"To be a good team, that's how you have to respond", said DeRozan. Terry Rozier, who was rested due to ankle concerns against the Bucks, returned to the starting line up, although his contribution was insignificant. I'm still coming out here to do my job. I was looking, 'Who's open?

Boston made nine turnovers in the second, leading to 17 points for Toronto, as the Raptors rallied behind six points from Wright to lead 43-33 at halftime. Their collective record against the Golden State Warriors, Cavaliers and Celtics is 2-6, with one game remaining against Boston.

Five days on from breaking Michael Jordan's record for most consecutive games with 10 or more points, the 14-time All-Star surpassed Kobe Bryant after hitting the 20-point mark for the 942nd time in his career to go third on the all-time list for career 20-point games.

Like this: