Bismack Biyombo may have played one of his best playoff games on Wednesday morning, and the Toronto Raptors are now on the brink of Semi-Finals berth.
Game 5 of the First-Round of the Eastern Conference playoffs was a must-win for Toronto, and Biyombo made his presence felt at both ends of the floors.
The Raptors trailed by as many as 17 points, then head coach Dwane Casey performed a masterclass play by introducing reserves Biyombo, Corey Joseph and Norman Powell, and the Raptors went to seal a 102-99 win.
The Raptors lead the series 3-2.
Biyombo came off the bench – in the place of Jonas Valanciunas – to contribute 10 points and 16 rebounds, and Raptors can clinch the first seven-game playoff series victory in franchise history by beating the Pacers in Indiana on Friday night.
Although Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan scored a team-high 34 points, Biyombo’s work on the boards energised the Canadians. He had seven of his 16 rebounds during the fourth, where he played the entire quarter.
Biyombo said: “We stuck together, we played defence like a team, and I am glad we got the win. It’s good to have a win in front of our fans. Going to Indiana [for Game 6] it is gonna be challenging for us. We have to be able to come out with the same intensity. We look forward to the next game.”
The Raptors went on a 21-2 run to start the final quarter, and the Pacers were never the same despite Paul George’s game-high 39 points.
DeMarre Carroll, one of the starters, said what it’s like to watch a fourth-quarter run like that from the bench: “Norman [Powell], Bismack Biyombo, Cory Joseph. Every single individual who came off that bench and into that game after that third quarter just set the tone. Great defence led to great opportunities on the offensive end. When our bench came in those guys just took the game to the next level and gave us a chance.”