Raptors to meet familiar foe Philadelphia in 1st round of playoffs_freckle removal los angeles

Raptors to meet familiar foe Philadelphia in 1st round of playoffsThe Toronto Raptors will face their Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia 76ers in the opening round of the playoffs. The Raptors (48-34) clinched their eighth playoff berth in nine seasons with Tuesday's win versus Atlanta, and secured the fifth seed with Friday's comeback against Houston.

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Toronto closes out regular season with loss to Knicks as VanVleet, Siakam rest

The Canadian Press(Jessie Alcheh/The Associated Press)

The Toronto Raptors will face their Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia 76ers in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Raptors (48-34) clinched their eighth playoff berth in nine seasons with Tuesday's win versus Atlanta, and secured the fifth seed with Friday's comeback against Houston.

But the logjam in the Eastern Conference meant having to wait until the end of Sunday's regular-season finales to learn their post-season opponent.

The Boston Celtics' 139-110 victory over Memphis secured them the No. 2 spot in the East, meaning Philly could finish no better than fourth, and Toronto, fifth, regardless of their results Sunday.

The Raptors, who sat Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet on Sunday for rest, finished with a meaningless 105-94 loss at New York.
  • BOXSCORE: Knicks 105, Raptors 94

Chris Boucher scored 21 points and Gary Trent Jr. added 17 for the Raptors, who had their winning streak snapped at three games.

"I think it's a good matchup for us, but honestly I'm just happy to be in the playoffs, especially the way we started the year," Boucher said.

WATCH |Knicks defeat Raptors in season finale:

Knicks defeat Raptors as Obi Toppin's 42 points lead the way

1 day agoDuration 0:34Obi Toppin scores a career-high 42 points as Toronto falls 105-94 to New York in the final game of their regular season.0:34

Raptors coach Nick Nurse, who didn't coach because he was under the weather, said before the game that his team is ready to compete when the playoffs start next weekend after they were chosen in the preseason to finish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

"I was expecting to be sitting here," he said. "When we started the season and everyone picked us 11th, I was like, `No way, this is a playoff team. This is a playoff team. We're not that bad. We're a playoff team."'
  • 'It's great for the city': Toronto businesses hopeful as stadiums fill up for first time since pandemic

The best-of-seven series will begin in Philadelphia on Saturday at 6 p.m ET.

The Raptors head into the post-season on a hot streak that began with a five-game winning streak out west in early March. They won 14 of 18 games since then, the best record in the league during that stretch.

Thybulle ineligible to play in Canada

The Raptors won their season series against Philly 3-1, including a shorthanded 119-114 victory against the visiting Sixers on Thursday. Philadelphia's elite defender Matisse Thybulle, who was ruled ineligible to play in Toronto on Thursday, also won't be able to play in Games 3 and 4 at Scotiabank Arena, Sixers coach Doc Rivers told reporters on Sunday because of his vaccination status.

Players must be vaccinated to cross the border to play. The rules apply for Toronto players travelling south, but the Raptors are 100 per cent vaccinated.

The Raptors have faced Philly twice in the post-season, most memorably in 2019 when Kawhi Leonard hit the buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the conference semifinals en route to winning the NBA championship.

The Raptors lost to the Sixers in the 2001 conference semifinals, in a thrilling seven-game battle that featured Vince Carter and Allen Iverson.

WATCH | Leonard's buzzer-beater sends Raptors past 76ers en route to championship:

Leonard's ridiculous buzzer-beater sends Raptors to Eastern finals

3 years agoDuration 1:23Kawhi Leonard poured in 41 points, including a dramatic game-winner as the Toronto Raptors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 92-90 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.TEAM PAGE: New York Knicks

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