From Here To The Stars
With a 111 to 107 victory over the Detroit Pistons in Toronto on Saturday that saw DeMar DeRozan lead the way with 29 points, the Raptors now sit 32-15 for the season and have won 11 straight.
The current streak of 11 wins is a Toronto sports record, tying the Blue Jays’ 2015 run. How long could the streak go?
With five games to go until All-Star their only opponent with a winning record is the Pistons, with Portland, Denver, Phoenix and Minnesota all sitting out of the playoff picture in the West. So far this season the Raptors have been dynamite on the road with a record of 14-9 away from home.
Next time the Raptors are in Toronto it will be for the All-Star game, February 12-14th and they hope the road swing will help keep the streak alive and them stay on task despite the local hype around the All-Star festivities.
“I think it’s a good thing to get focused,” Dwane Casey told NPH at the Pistons game. “I think guys are going to be here or they’re going to travel during that weekend so I told them to get their plans out of the way and get that done, don’t let that linger over the next two weeks so let’s not let that distract us. It’s great for the city but we’ve got two more weeks before we can turn it off so let’s not do that too soon.”
Unfortunately Dwane Casey was not chosen to coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars. The honour instead went to Tyronn Lue who coached all of three games after the Cavaliers fired David Blatt.
The Raptors’ place in the East is thanks in large part to the guidance and leadership of Casey, and the development of his star guards both set to rep T.O. in the main event on Valentine’s Day.
He and Lowry are the first Raptors teammates to play in the NBA All-Star game together since Vince Carter and Antonio Davis in 2001. Remember these faces?
That 2000-01 season was a then-franchise best 47 wins and the only time the Raptors advanced past the first round of the playoffs, eventually losing to Allen Iverson’s Sixers on a buzzer-beating miss by Carter that’s been replayed ad-nauseam ever since.
Toronto has been tough to handle with two all-stars in the back court, racing out to 32 wins with 35 games left. At their current pace (winning 67% of their games) they would win 23 more running their season total to 55 wins, well eclipsing a would-be franchise record of 50.
“I think everybody’s having a hard time with [Lowry and DeRozan], especially during this 10-game winning streak they’re averaging 50 between them so it’ll be very very difficult,” said Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy.
For the Raptors, there is no slowing down as they streak towards All-Star festivities in Toronto as the best team in franchise history.