TORONTO — Amir Johnson was finishing up a phone call as a crowd of reporters gathered around his locker.
“My grandmother called and she said she’s proud,” a smiling Johnson said as he put the phone down.
She should be. Thanks to a timely bucket by her grandson, the Toronto Raptors are headed back to the NBA playoffs.
Johnson scored the winning basket with seven seconds left, and the Raptors clinched their first playoff berth in six seasons by beating the Boston Celtics 105-103 on Friday night.
“It’s a satisfying, kind of overwhelming feeling,” Johnson said. “But at the same time, you know you’ve still got a lot more to accomplish.”
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points as the Raptors won for the 18th time in 24 home games. Terrence Ross had 17 points. It’s the first trip to the playoffs for DeRozan after four seasons of frustration.
“It makes it feel all worth it, honestly,” he said. “The hard work, the struggles, the nights going home where you’re just frustrated and don’t want to turn on sports. It really shows you that if you stick at it and don’t give up, not to sound cliched, but it definitely pays off.”
The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors last reached the playoffs in 2007-08, losing to Orlando in five games in the first round. This is their sixth playoff berth in 19 seasons.
Jerryd Bayless scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough for Boston, which has dropped three straight and eight of nine. Jeff Green scored 16 points, while Jared Sullinger, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley each had 11.
The Celtics dropped to 8-27 on the road.
“The difference in the game was (DeRozan) making the tough shots,” Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said.
Johnson and DeRozan are the longest serving Raptors, so Coach Dwane Casey found it fitting that they played such pivotal roles in the outcome.
“They’ve been through thick and thin, through good times and bad times,” Casey said.
Rondo inbounded the ball to Sullinger with three seconds left, but his shot bounced off the backboard as the buzzer sounded, sending the sellout crowd of 19,800 into joyous celebration.
“The energy in the building just erupted,” DeRozan said. “It just shows you how much our fans back us.”
WIZARDS 91, PACERS 78: John Wall scored 20 points, and host Washington avenged two of its biggest losses of the season, never trailing in a win over turnover-prone Indiana.
HEAT 110, PISTONS 78: LeBron James had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help Miami build a big lead, then rested in the fourth quarter of a victory at Detroit.
At halftime, the 1989 NBA champion Pistons were honored, but Joe Dumars, Detroit’s president of basketball operations, did not address the crowd, further increasing speculation that his job is in jeopardy with the team likely to miss the playoffs for a fifth straight year.
NETS 108, CAVALIERS 97: Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 22 points in a flawless first quarter, and Brooklyn quickly pulled away in the second on the way to its 12th straight home victory.
MAGIC 110, BOBCATS 105: Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 23 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson had five points in overtime as host Orlando edged Charlotte.
TRAIL BLAZERS 91, BULLS 74: Mo Williams scored 18 points to lead five players in double figures as Portland won on the road for a second straight night.
THUNDER 94, KINGS 81: Kevin Durant scored 29 points to help Oklahoma City win at home against Sacramento.
PELICANS 102, JAZZ 95: Tyreke Evans had 22 points and 15 assists, and New Orleans overcame the loss of Anthony Davis to extend its winning streak to a season-long five games with a home victory.
TIMBERWOLVES 143, LAKERS 107: Kevin Love had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as host Minnesota hammered woeful Los Angeles.