Raptors to face Wizards in 1st round after wrapping season with OT loss to Heat
Toronto was 2-1 in its season series with Washington
The Toronto Raptors will meet the Washington Wizards in the first round of the NBA's post-season.
Kyle Lowry had 28 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists but Toronto still fell to the Miami Heat 116-109 in overtime on Wednesday night, while the Washington Wizards lost to the Orlando Magic 101-92. That combination of results made Washington the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and set up a series with the top-ranked Raptors.
Toronto heads into its fifth consecutive playoff appearance after rewriting the franchise history books in the regular season. The Raptors won a record 59 games, topping their previous best of 56. They also won a franchise-high 34 games at the Air Canada Centre, tying the Houston Rockets for the best home record in the NBA.
"We had a goal set out that we would win 60 games before these 82 were up," DeRozan said. "That didn't happen. Time to clear that. None of that matters now. Get ready for this weekend."
The Raptors were 22-60 in 2010-11 the season before Dwane Casey came to Toronto.
"It's taken us a while to build our program, to get it where it is," said Casey, a coach of the year candidate this season.
"This [Heat] program has multiple championships and we're trying to get to that level organically. And it takes time. You're just not going to wave a magic wand and turn a player into Magic Johnson or Larry Bird or anybody like that. It's part of the process, and that's something I know our organization is proud of."
Raptors reserve Fred VanVleet left with 1:32 remaining in regulation of Toronto's loss to Miami after apparently getting hurt while trying to fight through a screen. He stayed down for several seconds near the Toronto bench before getting helped off the floor.
Back-and-forth with Wizards
The Raptors lost 107-96 to the Wizards on Nov. 5, part of their 5-4 start to the regular season. Bradley Beal scored 38 points and the Wizards led from the opening tipoff.
Toronto bounced back to beat Washington 100-91 on Nov. 19 at the Air Canada Centre. DeMar DeRozan had 33 points in the win.
Beal again led the way as the Wizards took a 122-119 win at home over the Raptors on Feb. 1.
Toronto earned the series split against the Wizards with a 102-95 victory in Washington on March 2. DeRozan led the way with 23 points.
The Wizards have been in a freefall to close out the regular season, losing 11 of their past 16 games.
John Wall hasn't played against the Raptors this season, returning to the lineup on April 1 from a knee injury.
Washington swept the Raptors in four games in the opening round of the playoffs in 2015, Toronto's worst performance in its last four playoff appearances.
With files from The Associated Press