TORONTO – DeMar DeRozan finally turned in the All-Star effort Toronto has been waiting for in the playoffs.
DeRozan’s big game, and an even bigger Raptors comeback, put Toronto on the brink of a second-round berth.
DeRozan scored 34 points and the Raptors held on for a 102-99 victory over the Indiana Pacers and a 3-2 lead in their first-round series Tuesday night when Solomon Hill’s 3-pointer was ruled to have come after the buzzer.
“I just felt like my normal self,” said DeRozan, who came in shooting 29.6 percent over the first four games of the series but connected on 10 of 22 shots.
“It’s all about patience,” DeRozan added. “You can’t get flustered, you can’t get frustrated. You’ve got to stay the course. That’s what we’re going to continue to do.”
The Raptors overcame 39 points from Paul George and a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Bismack Biyombo had 10 points and 16 rebounds for the second-seeded Raptors, who can clinch the first seven-game playoff series victory in franchise history by beating the Pacers in Indiana on Friday.
“If we don’t come in (Friday) with the mentality like we had in the fourth quarter, it’s going to be a long game,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
George Hill had 15 points and Myles Turner 14 for the Pacers, who led by as many as 17 and never trailed through the first three quarters before coming unglued in the fourth.
“It’s awful to have had a chance to win on the road, go up 3-2, and come back home,” George said. “Once again, we failed to live up to that moment.”
Jonas Valanciunas scored 11 and rookie Norman Powell had 10 for Toronto.
The Pacers made 13 of 29 from 3-point range but struggled from all over the floor in the fourth, making four of 15 shots and scoring just nine points in the period.
Hawks 110, Celtics 83
In Atlanta, Kent Bazemore sparked a stunning turnaround with three straight 3-pointers in the second quarter, and the Hawks reclaimed the upper hand in their playoff series against Boston with a rout.
Atlanta is up 3-2 in the series and positioned to close it out Thursday in Boston.
This one started out horribly for Atlanta, which couldn’t make a shot and trailed 29-19 midway through the second quarter. Then, suddenly, the Hawks looked like an entirely different team.
Led by Bazemore, Atlanta ripped off a 28-8 run to take control before halftime. The Hawks totally blew it open with a 42-point third quarter, heading to the final period up 89-62.
Clippers lose stars
Los Angeles — Blake Griffin is out for the rest of the playoffs after aggravating his left quadriceps tendon and Chris Paul had right hand surgery Tuesday, leaving the stunned Los Angeles Clippers without their top two players for the remainder of their first-round series against Portland.
The team said Griffin had an MRI that revealed no further structural damage to the quad that he originally injured in a contest on Dec. 25. He missed 41 games and an additional four as punishment for punching the team’s assistant equipment manager, returning on April 3. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September. Griffin wasn’t made available to reporters.
“You feel bad for Chris, you feel bad for Blake,” said guard J.J. Redick, who is dealing with his own nagging left heel injury.
Paul had surgery to repair a hand fracture sustained in the third quarter of Monday night’s 98-84 loss in Game 4 that allowed Portland to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2. He appeared to catch his hand on Gerald Henderson’s jersey.
“C.P. is a reacher. He probably has the best hands in the league. At that time it got caught in the wrong place,” coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s amazing how things change for you.”