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Done, and done.
Ellington scored a career-high 32 points while setting Miami’s single-season
record for 3-pointers, and the Heat wrapped up the No. 6 seed in the Eastern
Conference playoffs by beating the Toronto Raptors 116-109 in overtime Wednesday
”It’s just absolutely fitting that it would come down to an overtime game
with this group,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”It was a heck of a regular
season. Now we’re on to the second act.”
That starts this weekend, when the Heat go to Philadelphia and take on the
third-seeded 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Kelly Olynyk, Dwyane Wade, Justise Winslow, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson
each scored 11 points for the Heat, who got 10 each from Hassan Whiteside and
Ellington needed six 3s to beat the record of 225 that Damon Jones set in the
2004-05 season. He finished the season with 227, and now gets to go to his
hometown to start the postseason.
”A big-time overtime win,” Ellington said. ”We feel like if you put us up
against anybody in seven games, we can beat them. That’s the kind of team we
feel like we are. It’s going to be a dogfight no matter what.”
Kyle Lowry scored 28 points for Toronto Tim Heed
Jersey , which already had the top seed in the East wrapped up –
but played its regulars in this one anyway. The Raptors will meet No. 8
Washington in the first round.
DeMar DeRozan had 19 points, Jakob Poeltl had 16 and Jonas Valanciunas scored
12 for the Raptors, who were outscored 11-4 in overtime.
”We had a goal set out that we would win 60 games before these 82 were up,”
DeRozan said. ”That didn’t happen. Time to clear that. None of that matters now.
Get ready for this weekend.”
Even with nothing standings-wise to play for, the Raptors had no qualms about
using their starters. Lowry, DeRozan, Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka combined to
play more than 120 minutes.
The Raptors were 22-60 in 2010-11, the season before coach Dwane Casey came
to Toronto. They ended this season 59-23.
”It’s taken us a while to build our program, to get it where it is,” said
Casey, a coach of the year candidate this season. ”This (Heat) program has
multiple championships and we’re trying to get to that level organically. And it
takes time. You’re just not going to wave a magic wand and turn a player into
Magic Johnson or Larry Bird or anybody like that. It’s part of the process, and
that’s something I know our organization is proud of.”
Ellington’s 3-pointer with 18.8 seconds left in regulation put Miami up
Callahan Jersey , and Poeltl tied it with a tip-in. But Miami
scored the first five points of the extra session and didn’t look back.
A year ago on the last night of the season, the Heat were left teary-eyed and
with a sour taste in their mouths after missing the playoffs.
This time, Wade and Udonis Haslem toasted each other with flutes of fancy
champagne to celebrate their 15th NBA season.
”It really means something, every time you complete a season especially as
you get up there,” Wade said. ”So both of us are a little tipsy.”
Raptors: Key reserve Fred VanVleet left with 1:32 remaining in regulation
after apparently getting hurt while trying to fight through a screen. He stayed
down for several seconds near the Toronto bench before getting helped off the
floor. … Toronto went 25-16 on the road, and 40-12 against East opponents.
Heat: All-Star point guard Goran Dragic missed the game with soreness in his
right knee. The Heat are not concerned about his availability for Game 1 of the
playoffs. … Miami finished 26-15 at home.
Tony Fiorentino, one of the Heat original employees who started as an
assistant coach in the team’s inaugural season 30 years ago before transitioning
to broadcasting, was honored in a halftime ceremony. Fiorentino has spent the
last 15 season as the Heat television analyst, and will assume a team-ambassador
position when Miami’s playoff run ends.
To say Poeltl is going into the postseason on a hot streak is an
understatement. Poeltl ended the regular season having made 34 of his last 39
shots in the final eight games. Poeltl is also the only Raptors player who
appeared in all 82 regular-season contests.
Raptors: Face Washington in Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Heat: Face Philadelphia in Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-7)
OPEN CAMP: July 18, Owings Mills, Maryland
LAST YEAR: Ravens missed playoffs for third straight season, falling to
Cincinnati in finale when victory would have earned Baltimore playoff berth.
Though Ravens posted winning record for first time since 2014 Womens
T. J. Watt Jersey , disappointing finish was takeaway from season
in which quarterback Joe Flacco struggled and defense played well in spurts.
Telling statistic from 2017: Flacco averaged 5.7 yards per attempt, more than
half-yard less than his previous low for single season.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB Lamar Jackson, WR Michael Crabtree, WR Willie Snead,
TE Hayden Hurst, QB Robert Griffin III, WR John Brown.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Jeremy Maclin, WR Mike Wallace, RB Danny Woodhead, CB
Lardarius Webb, WR Michael Campanaro, defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
CAMP NEEDS: Ravens need to solidify offensive line Eric Staal
Jersey , because heavy-footed Flacco will need time in pocket to be
effective. Team will determine its starting center in camp, and can only hope
rookie tackle Orlando Brown can shore up right side of line. Best lineman on
team, guard Marshal Yanda, participated in only two games last year, so depth at
that position is must.
EXPECTATIONS: Ravens hope busy offseason will help get them back into
playoffs and make some noise in January. General manager Ozzie Newsome, who will
step aside after season, worked hard to get Flacco variety of targets – most
notably Crabtree and Snead. New defensive coordinator Don Martindale promises
more aggressive scheme and return to day when Ravens’ defense was nasty and
effective. It’s uncertain how nimble QB Jackson will blend into mix, but Ravens
spent good deal of time at minicamp finding ways to get him on field.