Punching Playoff Ticket

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Raptors Clinch Playoff Spot

With Hard Fought Win over the Pistons, Raptors Clinch Playoff Spot

Call it a formality, with a win over the Detroit Pistons, the Toronto Raptors clinch a playoff spot.

On the second night of a back-to-back, in the midst of the dog days of the season, the Toronto Raptors continued to prove to be head and shoulders above the rest of their Eastern Conference competition. Lacking part of their depth, an exhausted Raptors squad rode their stars to a hard-fought overtime victory.

It won’t always look pretty, nor should it always look pretty, but the Raptors have shown the ability to not only blow teams out, but to overcome adversity, and close out tight games.

Despite pouring in 42-points on the evening, DeMar DeRozan was not the player to send the Raptors to yet another playoff berth. Struggling all night, Fred VanVleet, one of the Raptors’ unsung heroes all season long sunk a basket to punch the Raptors’ ticket to the postseason. The trust that DeRozan had in that moment in his struggling teammate, sums up this Raptors team as a whole.

“DeMar made the right decision,’’ said Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey. “There were four guys collapsing on him and he made the right play. And Fred knocked it down, except it was a long two.”

For a team fighting to stay focused while anxious to get the postseason underway, the Raptors simply continue doing all the right things in preparation for the playoffs. Of course, there are still a few questions that need to be answered, but if what the Raptors seen from Norman Powell tonight is a sign for good things to come, the Raptors should be in great shape once playoff time arrives.

“I control the effort I put in, how hard I work,” Powell said earlier in the week. “Just leave the rest on the floor and see what happens. If it doesn’t go that way, you just keep fighting, keep looking at the big picture, and plugging away at it. Long season, long career, you know?

“You just got to keep going. It’s a minor thing in the big picture of things of what I’ve been doing. So just continue working, continue to stay positive, and see how it all unfolds.”

With a realistic shot at the franchise’s first ever 60-win season, the Raptors must continue to focus on doing the right things and developing the right habits. Above all, maintaining the one-seed is of upmost importance. They are the league’s best home team and having all roads pass through Toronto on the way to the NBA Finals is will be vital in the Raptors playoff success.

And when it comes to the playoffs, everybody is looking to see if this truly is a new Raptors team and one that has turned the corner.

Can this Raptors team change the NBA world’s perspective of the team they have been the past few years in the playoffs? If any Raptors team can get that done, it most definitely seems like it can be this one.

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