Despite some failed late game execution and a run by the Pistons on Saturday night, the Raps held on and were able to extend their win streak to eleven in a row. Already passing the mark for the best win streak in franchise history, the group will look to keep it going as they head out west for three games this week.
Historically the Raptors have disappointed on west coast swings through Denver, Phoenix, and Portland but with those three teams out of the playoff race, business should be taken care of with a 3-0 record. The back-to-back with the altitude in Denver and a newly motivated Hornacek-less Phoenix team could be a trap game. But if the Raps are to lose one it will most likely be because of a 40 point night from Damian Lillard.
February 1st @ Denver - OMAHA!
While the city of Denver has Broncos Super Bowl fever, the Nuggets have been slogging through this season with the lowest attendance in the NBA, averaging just a touch over 13,000 a game. The Raptors will need a strong defensive effort, as since the Nuggets have gotten healthy their offence has been scoring at a top ten clip. An interesting matchup to watch will be Jonas Valanciunas vs. Nikola Jokic, as Jokic can expose JV's defensive liabilities with his speed and playmaking ability.
February 2nd @ Phoenix - Setting Suns
Jeff Hornacek was finally put out of his misery this morning as the Suns fired the head coach as the team sits at 14-35. The Raptors should have no trouble picking apart the Suns lacklustre D, although the back-to-back coming from altitude could cause a slow start. Also look for potential future Raptor Markieff Morris to play a more motivated game since his enemy in Hornacek is no longer running the show.
February 4th @ Portlandia - Keep it Weird
Surely the Raptors will be having the ladies from Women & Women First into the locker room for a pregame speech, just as the Blazers did for motivation a few years ago.
The backcourt battle will be the entertainment of this affair, as Lowry and DeRozan will go to battle against Lillard and CJ McCollum who can both score at will when they reach their peaks.
So, what's your Raptors prediction for the week?