Toronto didn't make NBA 2K16 MT  look easy against Indiana, but at last it has a long-sought victory in a 

Game 7: Pacers vs. Raptors

DeMar DeRozan leads the way for the Raptors scoring 30, as they beat the Pacers in Game 7, 89-84.

Game 7: Pacers vs. Raptors

Best of Phantom: Pacers-Raptors Game 7

 Raptors on Series Win

 

Pacers on Series Loss

 

DeRozan Talks Series Win

 

Pacers Alley-Oop Attempt

 

Lowry Gets to the Rim

 

DeRozan Spinning for the Reverse

 

DeRozan And-One

  

 

TORONTO — Oh, you knew it wouldn't come easy.

And my goodness, the Angst Meter at the Air Canada Centre went from 2 to 10 awfully quickly as a 

 

16-point, fourth-quarter lead was whittled down to 10, and then six. And then, with less than 30 

 

seconds to go, Paul George had the ball in his hands with the Indiana Pacers down just three.

You could imagine Paul Pierce, watching the game on his couch, nodding his head as things were 

 

falling apart for the Toronto Raptors, the team he eliminated as a lower seed each of the last two 

 

postseasons. For the third straight season, the Raptors set a franchise record for regular-season 

 

wins. And for the third straight season, the playoffs exposed their flaws. They were a 56-win team 

 

and they were struggling to eliminate the No. 7 seed, a team that couldn't get the ball anywhere 

 

near the basket for large chunks of Game 7 on Sunday.

But Pierce wasn't here to block a shot or drain a game-winner. DeMar DeRozan's bump of Ian Mahinmi 

 

went uncalled, Mahinmi couldn't handle George's lob pass on the game-deciding possession, and the 

 

Raptors escaped with an 89-84 victory in Game 7 of the first round, securing their first playoff 

 

series win since 2001 and the first best-of-7 win in franchise history.

It wasn't pretty. DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, the All-Stars that were supposed to carry the Raptors, 

 

combined to shoot less than 32 percent in the series. After Game 4, Raptors coach Dwane Casey said 

 

his team would "ride or die" with its starting backcourt. And the Raptors were certainly riding and 

 

dying with DeRozan on Sunday.

DeMar wasn't going to beat this team alone and Kyle wasn't going to beat this team alone. It had to 

 

be a group effort.

– Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll

 

They were riding in the first quarter, dying in the second, and riding again in the third. In the 

 

fourth, it was more dying, but not enough for the Pacers to crawl all the way back. In a crucial 

 

moment late, George stripped DeRozan and looked to have a breakaway, but gave DeRozan enough of a 

 

push to be called for an offensive foul before converting a layup.

Ultimately, the Pacers just didn't have enough offense beyond George and George Hill, who combined 

 

for 45 points, shooting 7-for-11 from 3-point range. Like DeRozan, they had their highs and lows 

 

offensively. And seven fourth-quarter turnovers turned out to be the difference.

"Credit their defense," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "They played really well, they played so 

 

hard and they are so well prepared."

It's hard to explain how Toronto won this series. Every game was its own adventure and there was no 

 

underlying theme. But improved defense (Toronto went from 23rd to 11th defensive efficiency this 

 

season) certainly helped the Raptors put their history behind them when their stars couldn't make 

 

shots.

DeRozan finished with 30 points on 32 field goal attempts. In the biggest game of his life, he 

 

certainly didn't shy away from the moment. He was more himself -- inefficient as he may be -- than 

 

he was in any other game in this series.

 

"

"We gonna ride with him emptying that clip," Lowry said of his teammate. "I don't care if he shot 

 

40 times. He emptied the clip and we won, so that's all that matters."

They won because DeRozan got help from teammates who weren't here for the postseason failures of 

 

years past. DeMarre Carroll kept George from truly taking the game over. Cory Joseph brought his 

 

steadiness and playoff experience in 27 minutes off the bench. And rookie Norman Powell hit huge 

 

shots, both early and late.

Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri interrupted Casey's postgame news conference to give the coach 

 

a kiss on the head. If he had the opportunity, Casey probably would have reciprocated, because the 

 

roster tweaks Ujiri made last summer paid off in a big way with the season on the line.

"DeMar wasn't going to beat this team alone and Kyle wasn't going to beat this team alone," Carroll 

 

said. "It had to be a group effort."

Still, Lowry and DeRozan will need to be better in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Miami 

 

Heat, a team that will test that improved defense a lot more than the Pacers did, is coming to town 

 

and Game 1 of the conference semifinals is less than 48 hours away. Sunday was a step forward, or 

 

maybe a step back to being the team that won 56 games in the regular season.

 

Casey was asked if his team could relax now that the weight of 15 years without getting through the 

 

first round has been lifted off the Raptors' shoulders.

"I don't know if relaxed is the word I'd use," he said, "but play freer. Play basketball and not 

 

worry about the history.

"I don't want them to be relaxed," Casey said, "because we're not https://www.igs.com/   ."