The Toronto Raptors increased their lead over the Boston Celtics to 2.5 games in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference on Wednesday with a 121-119 overtime defeat of the Detroit Pistons.
The victory also allowed the Raptors, 1/500 to win the Atlantic Division, to become the first team this season to claim a place in the playoffs. DeMar DeRozan led the way for the visitors to the Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit with 42 points on 16-of-28 from the field.
Kyle Lowry, with 15 points and 15 assists, and Jonas Valanciunas, with 14 points and 11 rebounds, each had double-doubles for the Raptors who picked up their sixth straight in the process.
On Friday Toronto return home to the Air Canada Centre for a potential NBA Finals preview when they entertain the Houston Rockets, 29/20 to win the Western Conference, in a battle of Conference leaders. The Raptors got the better of the Rockets in the middle of November when they two teams played at the Toyota Center and Houston will be looking for revenge as they put a 17-game winning streak on the line.
Meanwhile, also on Friday, the Pistons will be back on the court as they welcome in the Chicago Bulls. Currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, Detroit trail the Milwaukee Bucks by five games with 17 games left in the regular campaign.
As such it appears likely that the Raptors, Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and the Bucks will be the eight representatives from the Eastern Conference in the postseason with only the order left to decide.
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