NBA Playoffs Update: Toronto Raptors Defeat Indiana Pacers, Win First Playoff Series Since 2001

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of the NBA Playoffs 2016. The 89-84 win against the visiting team was a long time coming, and fans celebrated at the Pacers versus Raptors game like it was a Finals match, per a live TNT report.

At halftime; the momentum favored the home team. The Raptors led at the break, 50 to 44. Toronto shot 46 percent from the field, made 3-10 shots from long distance, grabbed 27 boards, and scored 28 points in the paint on 14 assists.

Obviously, the big names held their own in Game 7: the Pacers’ Paul George had 17 points (6-10), the Raptors Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan teamed up for 20 points and 19 assists at the end of the second quarter, according to ESPN.

George commented about his team’s chances to advance to the second round.

“In this situation, pressure’s on both teams. It’s the final game. It’s win or go home. There’s pressure on both teams to come out with a win. But yeah, it’s added pressure on them, being at home and their troubles getting out of the first round. It comes down to who wants it. And we feel good about it.”

Lowry struggled a bit by searching out his shot selection on pick and rolls, but he still stepped up with his half-dozen assists at the half. At the start of the third quarter, both teams went cold in scoring for the first two minutes until Patrick Harrison drained a three from the top of the key.

Next, Ian Mahinmi answered by throwing down a monster dunk. With nearly eight minutes left, DeMarre Carroll followed up with a Toronto three-pointer. By the end of the quarter, Toronto had opened up their largest lead of the game at that point: 64 to 78.

During a chat with the media, head coach, Dwane Casey, said “The time is now” when pressed for a comment about a strategy to close out the quarter. In the end, Team Canada (and Drake) had a reason to party like it’s 1999.

Having not been out of a first round playoff series since 2001, the song by the late singer is, arguably, entirely proper. Their last victory in the postseason was over the New York Knicks.

Truth be told, the Raptors outplayed Indiana throughout the game. Undoubtedly, the Pacers have to make some changes, but the team has promise in Myles Turner, who has a “bright future,” according to NBA analyst Charles Barkley.

Coach Casey said his team used comments from naysayers to prove the establishment wrong. To his point, many left Toronto for dead and thought history would play out again with a loss; before tonight, the Raptors had never won a Game 7.

Are the Toronto Raptors heading for a collision course with LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers? First, they have to get past the Miami Heat, a team that knows how to close out a playoff series.

The Heat closed out the Charlotte Hornets in a seven-game series in commanding fashion: 33 points. It’s one of the largest margins of victories in NBA history.

Toronto nearly blew a double-digit lead in the last minutes of the last quarter as the Pacers went on a 15-2 run. Some sports prognosticators wonder if they have enough experience and gas in the tank to face a healthy Heat team. Time will tell.

With Toronto’s epic win over Indiana, the Raptors host Dwayne Wade and the Heat in the conference semifinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs on Tuesday night.

[Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]