Sports

Crowder's jumper helps Celtics clinch East's 7th seed

Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jae Crowder was one of the many new Celtics acquired this season to help build for the future.

Except that future has begun before many expected it.

Crowder's go-ahead jumper with 0.8 seconds remaining lifted Boston to a 95-93 win over the Toronto Raptors and helped the Celtics clinch the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.

Kyle Lowry tied the score for Toronto at 93-93 with 10.2 seconds left after driving down the lane for a left-handed layup.

Evan Turner tried to navigate down the paint at the other end, but his runner was blocked by Terrence Ross and the ball went out of bounds with 3.3 ticks on the clock.

Crowder then came off a screen along the right elbow and knocked down a fall-away jumper with a toe on the 3-point line in the right corner over Tyler Hansbrough and Lowry to put Boston in front.

Lowry's 3-pointer from the left wing at the horn was swatted by Turner.

Crowder was part of the deal that sent All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks in December. Boston was a season-worst 14 games under .500 on Feb. 2, but has gone 23-12 since.

Turner finished with 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, Avery Bradley netted 14 points and Brandon Bass added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.

"To have a chance to compete against the very best in the league is a great opportunity," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

Boston clinched its trip to the postseason Monday following the Brooklyn Nets' loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Lowry posted 16 points, six rebounds and four assists and Lou Williams supplied 16 points off the bench for Toronto, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

"The way we lost tonight, we're disappointed," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.

The Raptors can earn the third seed in the conference with a over the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday and a Chicago Bulls loss against the Atlanta Hawks. Toronto would hold the tiebreaker due to being a division winner.

Toronto was up 87-82 with 4:37 to go, but Tyler Zeller hit a jumper and Marcus Smart nailed a 3 to tie it.

Later, Turner's right baseline jumper off an inbounds play put Boston in front with 35.2 ticks to go, but Lowry drove down the lane for a contested layup at the other end the knot the contest at 91-91.

Turner was off the mark on a floater in the paint, but retrieved his own miss after tipping a loose ball to himself at the foul line. He then dribbled in the paint and found Zeller for a layup with 14 ticks on the clock.

Earlier, Amir Johnson's turnaround hook capped a 10-0 Raptors run and staked them to a 24-16 advantage late in the opening frame. Toronto led 26-19 following a quarter of play and 53-46 at the break.

Zeller finished off a 9-0 Boston spurt with a pair of free throws to give it a 64-63 edge a little past the midway point of the third. Boston took a 73-70 margin into the fourth.

Game Notes

The Celtics celebrated the 50th anniversary of John Havlicek's steal to clinch the 1965 Eastern Conference finals ... Toronto forward DeMar DeRozan was a healthy scratch ... Boston scored 21 points off 20 Raptors turnovers.