3/8/2018 11:07:49 AM

DeRozan leads Raptors into playoffs, Rockets streak on

DeRozan leads Raptors into playoffs, Rockets streak on

Los Angeles: DeMar DeRozan exploded for 42 points as the Toronto Raptors clinched their place in the NBA playoffs with a 121-119 overtime victory against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

DeRozan added six assists and four rebounds in a virtuoso performance that hauled the Raptors back from the brink of what would have been an upset loss against the Pistons.

Toronto improved to 47-17 with the win, which tightened their grip on first place in the Eastern Conference standings and made them the first team to guarantee their spot in the postseason.

Detroit fell to 29-36 with the defeat, leaving them just outside the playoff positions in ninth place, five wins adrift of the Milwaukee Bucks in eighth spot.

The Raptors had to work hard for the win, overcoming the early ejection of Serge Ibaka and holding their nerve after a late fightback from Detroit took the game into overtime.

Point guard Kyle Lowry was content to simply supply the red-hot DeRozan with ammunition, contributing 15 assists as well as 15 points.

Norman Powell had 17 points while Jonas Valanciunas chipped in with 14.

New Pistons arrival Blake Griffin had tied it at 119-119 with 37.3 seconds left in overtime, but Detroit were unable to find the go-ahead score.

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