DeRozan, Raptors shoot past Pacers in Game 7
(The Sports Xchange) - Dwane Casey read the reviews of the Toronto Raptors' decisive Game 6 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
They were not good, and the Toronto coach feels many of the critics dismissed his team heading into Game 7 of the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
"I think everybody wrote us off and gave us up for dead," Casey said. "I love that because I thought our guys used it as motivation."
DeMar DeRozan, who had struggled in the playoffs, took matters into his own hands and led the way with 30 points as the Raptors held on to defeat the Pacers 89-84 on Sunday.
The Raptors advance to face the Miami Heat in the second round, with Game 1 on Tuesday in Toronto. The Heat eliminated the Charlotte Hornets in Game 7 earlier on Sunday.
Toronto led by 16 points with 7:31 to play and then held on as the Pacers cut the margin to three points with 2:35 left.
Indiana had the ball with 26.9 seconds to go, down by three, but the Raptors made the stop. DeRozan sank two free throws to stretch the lead to five with 6.5 seconds left to clinch the game.
"We stunk in the fourth quarter," Casey said. "I don't know if we ran out of gas. The guys were so jacked up emotionally to start the game, I thought we ran out of gas."
DeRozan said: "We were just going to leave it all out there. It was great. A lot of people don't get a chance to play a Game 7 with everything on the line." Continued...