Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Amir Johnson's putback layup with 7.1 seconds left proved to be the difference, as the Toronto Raptors held off the Boston Celtics 105-103 to clinch a postseason berth for the first time in six years.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and Terrence Ross donated 17 as the Raptors completed a home-and-home sweep of Boston. Greivis Vasquez and Jonas Valanciunas had 15 and 13 points, respectively, while Johnson poured in eight with eight rebounds.
Toronto is returning to the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, when it was bounced in the first round in five games by Orlando.
"We are excited about it. If you told me in year one that we would be knocking on the door of the playoffs in a rebuilding situation, I take my hat off to all the guys who have come through here. DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson especially who have been here through it all," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey.
Jerryd Bayless poured in 20 points off the bench for the Celtics, losers in eight of nine, and Jeff Green scored 16 points.
"I was just making shots, tried to get it going, and it worked out," Bayless said.
The Celtics trailed 85-73 after three quarters but a 10-0 run midway through the fourth, which Bayless capped with a jumper at 4:52, gave them a 96-95 lead.
Kelly Olynyk's layup nearly two minutes later gave Boston a four-point lead, but it was all Toronto down the stretch. Lowry scored at the rim out of a timeout and Vasquez tied the score with two free throws at 1:14.
After Jeff Green missed a fade-away for Boston, DeRozan restored the Raptors lead with a difficult stepback with 33.9 ticks left. Rajon Rondo had a layup less than five seconds later to tie it back up, setting up Toronto's decisive final possession. With the shot clock winding down, Lowry drove and missed a layup, but Johnson was there for the tip-in.
Jared Sullinger's running 3-pointer was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
Early on, Bradley scored six points as Boston jumped out to an 11-4 lead. The Raptors controlled the rest of the period, however, as Valanciunas scored six points in the final 2:08 of the quarter. John Salmons added a triple and Ross converted a three-point play for a 32-26 Toronto lead after one.
The Raptors led 56-53 at halftime.
The Raptors have won three of four games ... DeRozan reached at least 30 points for the 16th time this season ... Toronto took the season series from Boston, 3-1, for the first time since 2006-07 ... Lowry appeared in his 499th career game ... Bradley, Rondo and Sullinger all scored 11 points ... There were nine lead changes and eight ties.