Raptors end slide


DETROIT, April 13- The Toronto Raptors kept their playoff hopes going by beating Detroit 111-97 Monday to snap a five-game National Basketball Association losing streak.The Raptors closed to within a half-game of the Chicago Bulls for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

"This was huge," Toronto’s Jarrett Jack said of the win. "We could have came in and packed it in. But we came in, fought hard and kept a professional mind set."

The Raptors finish the regular season Wednesday in Toronto against New York. They will clinch a playoff spot if they end the season tied with Chicago, which plays Boston and Charlotte in its final two games.

Andrea Bargnani finished with 33 points and Amir Johnson had a career-high 26 as Toronto achieved their goal in the must-win game.

Detroit’s Charlie Villanueva scored 16 points in the team’s final home contest. Ben Gordon had 24 for the Pistons, whose season ends Wednesday in Milwaukee. Detroit will miss the playoffs for the first time in nine years.

"I know our defense wasn’t all that great, but I give them a lot

of credit," Detroit coach John Kuester said.

Toronto dropped a game back of Chicago with a 104-88 loss to the Bulls Sunday. The Raptors are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and just the third time in eight years.

The Raptors were without star forward Chris Bosh, who had surgery last week to fix a broken nose.

Toronto reserve Jack had 15 points and 12 assists, and DeMar DeRozan scored 12 points off the bench.

"We had a lot of guys trying to do too much and going 1-on-1, so we stressed the importance of trusting your teammates and sharing the ball," Raptors coach Jay Triano said.

In San Antonio, Keith Bogans scored 17 points and San Antonio kept control over their playoff fate by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-111.

Tim Duncan finished with 16 points for the Spurs who are trying avoid the being the eighth seed in the Western Conference and a first-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers.

San Antonio can clinch at least the number seven with a win in their regular season finale Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks – a game that could also be a playoff preview.

Oklahoma City and Portland are also trying to avoid the Lakers in one of the closest West playoff finishes in recent memory.