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|There’s a new regular-season champion in the Eastern Conference.Serge Ibaka scored a season-high 25 points Earnest Byner Jersey , DeMar DeRozan had 12 and the Toronto Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers 92-73 on Friday night, clinching the top seed in the East for the first time in team history.
”There’s gratification but you’re not satisfied,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ”We haven’t got to our ultimate goal, but it’s a feeling of gratification.”
Jakob Poeltl scored 10 points as the Raptors set franchise records for wins in a season (57) and home wins (33).
”We’ve got home-court advantage throughout the (East) playoffs,” DeRozan said, ”so let’s use that to our advantage.”
The Raptors have lost to LeBron James and Cavaliers in each of the past two postseasons, including a Conference finals defeat two years ago and a second-round exit last spring.
Toronto is the seventh different team in as many years to finish first in the East Chester Rogers Jersey , following Chicago, Miami, Indiana, Atlanta, Cleveland and Boston. Still, James’ team has represented the East in the NBA Finals in each of those years.
Kyle Lowry had nine points and nine assists, and Jonas Valanciunas added 12 rebounds for Toronto Kenny Moore Jersey , which never trailed in its ninth consecutive home victory over the Pacers. Toronto also locked up its fourth Atlantic Division title in the past five years.
”The journey is not over,” Lowry said.
The Pacers have not won north of the border since March 1, 2013.
Indiana came in after completing a season sweep of reigning NBA champion Golden State with a 126-106 home victory on Thursday night. However, the Pacers fell behind in a poor-shooting first quarter and never seriously challenged in this one.
”They pressured us, they pushed the tempo,” Pacers coach Nate McMIllan said. ”We just didn’t have any legs.”
Glenn Robinson III scored 12 points and Trevor Booker had 11 for the Pacers. Indiana shot 26 for 87 (29.9 percent) and set season-lows in points, made field goals Sherrick McManis Jersey , and field goal percentage.
”They’re a tough team,” Casey said. ”We caught them at a good time.”
After Bojan Bogdanovic made a jump shot with 8:28 left in the first, the Pacers missed 10 straight shots over the next five minutes before Domantas Sabonis snapped the slump with layup at 3:09. Indiana missed 18 of its first 21 shots attempts before ending the first with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Ibaka scored 10 points in the opening quarter and Toronto led 26-14 after one.
Booker made a pair of free throws as Indiana cut it to 32-28 with 5:04 left in the half but Toronto regained control with an 8-0 run. The Raptors led 45-33 at halftime.
Ibaka made all five shots he attempted in the third, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help Toronto take a 72-49 lead into the fourth.
Pacers: Victor Oladipo extended his streak of consecutive games with a steal to 63, tying him with Gary Payton for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history. … The Pacers have lost 12 of their past 15 regular-season meetings with the Raptors. … Indiana is 20-20 on the road.
Raptors: Ibaka matched a career best with five made 3-pointers. … Toronto had 20 rebounds in the first quarter. … The Raptors won 56 games in 2015-16, when they had 32 home victories. … Toronto had 23 turnovers James Daniels Jersey , a season worst. … The Raptors set a season-best for points allowed.
Casey is the third coach in NBA history to improve his team’s win total in six of seven seasons. The others were Boston’s Red Auerbach (1955-56 to 1961-62) and Phoenix’s John MacLeod (1974-75 to 1980-81).
Toronto is 8-0 when Ibaka scores 20 or more.
Indiana didn’t have a double-digit scorer until Booker made a free throw with 9:32 left in the fourth.
STRUGGLE FOR STARTERS
Indiana’s starting five combined for 18 points, shooting 8 for 36.
Pacers: Visit Charlotte on Sunday. Indiana has lost four straight road games in the series.
Raptors: Host Orlando on Sunday. Toronto has won its past three meetings with the Magic.
More NBA basketball:
The Bills have stockpiled draft picks for 2019.
Tanner McEvoy brings some size to the Dolphins receiving corps.
Deion Branch offered some advice to current Patriots receivers.
DB Jeremy Clark is among the players added to the Jets practice squad.
QB Robert Griffin III found his way back into the NFL with the Ravens.
The Bengals brought some of their cuts back to the practice squad.
Will the Browns make further changes to their offensive line?
The Steelers still have much to find out about their defense.
Eight players were added to the Texans practice squad.
The Colts are sticking to their plan.
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles feels ready for higher expectations.
The Titans began building their practice squad.
The Broncos hope they’ve found the right offensive line mix.
OL Andrew Wylie realized a dream by making the Chiefs.
Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco explained the team’s choice at kicker.
The Raiders signed seven players to their practice squad.
Will the Cowboys consider a new addition to the quarterback depth chart?
Are the Giants banking on QB Eli Manning being immortal?
The Eagles are fond of experienced players on short contracts.
Turnovers have been a problem for Washington in recent season openers.
Khalil Mack‘s arrival has created a lot of happiness around the Bears.
Nick Bellore‘s move to fullback paid off with a Lions roster spot.
The Packers could make some changes to their 53-man roster.
Vikings players mourned the death of trainer Fred Zamberletti.
The death of his college coach helped inspire Falcons T Matt Gono in his bid for a roster spot.
The Panthers will be replacing Matt Kalil at left tackle for at least the first half of the season.
Three Saints draft picks failed to survive the cut to 53 players.
Which positions may be troublesome for the Buccaneers?
Cardinals QB Sam Bradford rarely wears his emotions on his sleeve.
Rams head coach praised the work running backs coach Skip Peete has done this year.
Looking ahead to 49ers DL DeForest Buckner‘s second NFL contract.
The Seahawks added some size at cornerback.
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