The Toronto Raptors achieved a franchise first on Friday night, as their 92-73 victory over the Indiana Pacers guaranteed the team the No. 1 seed and home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference post-season. When the NBA playoffs begin next weekend, the Raptors will occupy the top seed for the first time since the team came into existence during the 1995-1996 season.
“There’s gratification, but we’re not satisfied,’’ Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s the way I like to put it because we haven’t gotten to our ultimate goal. It’s a feeling of gratification from where we started seven years ago, the bottom of the conference, so to speak.”
Casey retooled Toronto’s offense during the offseason, presumably hoping to keep opponents from overloading on DeMar Derozan while Kyle Lowry gets memed for reacting to his underwhelming box score. Per the NBA’s official stats page, the Raptors rank in the top five in both offensive rating and defensive rating. Friday was pretty much a win on all fronts, considering Drake dominated Toronto’s non-sports headlines by dropping a new single. Raptors fans were clearly feeling themselves and took to Twitter to show their pride.
Raptors finish first in the Eastern conference! Big middle finger to all those “experts” who predicted the Raps would barely make the playoffs back in Oct. #WeTheNorth
Raptors clinch the #1 seed in the east for the first time in franchise history!#WeTheNorth
If the standings remain the same, which isn’t necessarily a given, the Raptors would take on the Washington Wizards during the first round of the playoffs. The Raptors’ deepest playoff run came in 2015-2016 season, when the team lost to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.