Thursday night was a historic one at the Air Canada Centre, as the Toronto Raptors set a franchise record for consecutive wins in a row with 10 thanks to a 103-93 triumph over the New York Knicks. Toronto improved to 31-15 with the win (17-6 at home), while the Knicks fell to 22-26 in light of the setback.
The victory came against a depleted Knicks club that was forced to play without superstar Carmelo Anthony (knee injury) and super rookie Kristaps Porzingis (respiratory illness). To put it lightly, it was not one for the books.
On a night when DeMar DeRozan was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the second time in as many years, the Compton native once again put on a show north of the border to the tune of 26 points on a nine for 18 shooting. Fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry, who was listed as questionable heading into the matchup due to a wrist injury, looked like his normal dominant self by finishing with 26 points and a game-high 10 assists.
Arron Afflalo (20 points) and Langston Galloway (12 points) paced the Knickerbockers in the losing effort. Sasha Vujacic, who also finished the tilt with 12 points, had a major impact in the second half, which in itself tells you all you need to know about how interesting this game was.
Owning a 10-point lead at the half, the Raptors let the downtrodden Knicks back in it early in the third quarter, with Derek Fisher's club cutting the deficit to three at one point. That's where Toronto regained its double-digit advantage and never looked back, coasting out the victory in the fourth quarter in front of an uncharacteristically quiet crowd at the ACC.
Missed free throws were the biggest weakness for Canada's lone NBA squad early on, evidenced by the Raps shooting 72 percent from the charity stripe. Considering how well this team has done in that area this season it's a non-issue, but one that's worth pointing out regardless.
Just like every game during this streak, Toronto won in a variety of ways. The Raptors, who shot 43 percent as a team, were simply not getting their shots to fall (excluding the backcourt), however they once again stepped up big on the defensive end. Entering the contest, the Raptors were allowing a league low 92.6 points per game since January 6. The Raps have now won 21 straight games when holding their opponents to under 100 points.
Next up for the Dinos is a home date with the Detroit Pistons on Saturday in what will be the finale of a seven-game home stand. Toronto is only two games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for first place in the Eastern Conference. Yes, you read that correctly.
What did you guys think of the game? Will the Raptors ever lose again? Let us know in the comment section below.