Although there have been some close calls of late, the Toronto Raptors continue winning.
One of those close calls was a one-point home win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, and the Raptors will put their team-record 15-game winning streak on the line Wednesday night when they visit Brooklyn in the final game before the All-Star break.
The streak has given the Raptors a 40-14 record, their best mark through 54 games in team history. It is the second-longest winning streak in the NBA this season behind Milwaukee’s 18-game run from Nov. 10-Dec. 14.
Milwaukee won 18 straight games by a margin of 15.9 points and Toronto’s margin of victory in this streak is 10.6 points. Toronto has a pair of 119-118 victories in this streak when it edged Indiana last Wednesday and then eked out a win over Brooklyn on Saturday when Joe Harris missed a putback at the buzzer.
Toronto also has seven wins by double digits in this streak and kept it going by pulling away in the final minutes in the fourth quarter for a 137-126 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. The Raptors produced their second-highest-point total of the season while shooting 57.3 percent, scoring 35 fast-break points and 60 points in the paint.
“It didn’t feel like a win going away for quite a long time,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “There was a lot of energy in the game. I think we are getting everybody’s A-plus game. They were really good I thought for a lot of stretches and we just had to try and figure some things out and as you saw we had a lot of unconnected defense for a lot of the game, but the chemistry between those guys that were out there started to build.”
Pascal Siakam scored 34 points and has three 30-point games during the winning streak. Kyle Lowry returned from missing Saturday’s game due to whiplash and posted his third straight double-double with 27 points and 11 assists.
The Raptors played without Serge Ibaka (flu) and if he sits again former Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would likely start after getting 21 points Monday.
The Nets are winless in their last six meetings with Toronto and 1-18 in the last 19 meetings since April 3, 2015, in Brooklyn. After nearly getting the win Saturday, Brooklyn followed it up with a dramatic 106-105 win in Indiana on Monday when Spencer Dinwiddie hit the game-winning jumper with 5.2 seconds remaining.
Dinwiddie scored 21 points despite shooting 4 of 15 from the floor. He made 13 free throws, handed out 11 assists and the Nets never fell behind by more than six points in the fourth quarter.
“I thought our defense was great in the fourth quarter. We only turned it over twice,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Guys made plays. That’s what it all comes down to in the NBA, at the end of the game, you make plays.”
Brooklyn heads into Wednesday with four straight home wins since a 15-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 23. The Nets also are 6-3 in their last nine games overall since losing to the Lakers.
Kyrie Irving did not play in the first two meetings with Toronto and is expected to sit out for a fifth straight game (right knee sprain). Caris LeVert was on a minutes restriction in his first game back from a right thumb injury in the 121-102 home loss to Toronto on Jan. 4 but scored a career-high 37 points Saturday and is averaging 25 points in his last four games.
–Field Level Media