The Toronto Raptors (17-7) scored 100 or more points for the 12th straight contest, outlasting Zach Randolph and the Sacramento Kings 102-87.
DeMar DeRozan once again thrived offensively, finding a perfect balance between getting his own, high-efficient shot opportunities and getting others involved. He finished with a game-high 25 points and nine assists. It’s now fair to say DeRozan is an entirely different player from seasons past, in terms of how willing he is to distribute nowadays. It’s a welcome sight for this Raptors team that could make a significant difference come playoff time. When teams respect DeRozan’s passing skills and sag off him, it’ll open lanes for him to attack inside. On the other hand, if he’s attacking regularly it will create cleaner looks for his teammates. DeRozan’s game really has become a double-edged sword this season.
The Raptors starters actually had stronger net ratings than the bench for once in this one, with Serge Ibaka surprisingly leading the pack at plus-25. Ibaka was effective from the field, knocking down eight of his 13 field goal attempts, including four of seven from deep. He struggled on the boards once again, but luckily for him and the team, Kyle Lowry rebounds as if he’s seven-feet tall. Lowry snatched 12 boards along with his 15 points and six dimes.
Randolph led the Kings (8-18) with 19 points and 11 rebounds, Buddy Hield scored 17, while Bogdan Bogdanovic hit four 3-pointers to finish with 15 points to round out Sacramento’s top scorers.
We’ll see if the Raptors can extend their winning streak to seven games on Monday night in Los Angeles.
Speaking of Monday’s game…
If the Raptors extend the streak to seven games, it will be the team’s longest win streak since the 2015-16 season when they won a whopping 11 straight contests.
They’ll have a great shot tonight against a Los Angeles Clippers (9-15) team that has underperformed this season, in large part due to the injuries they’ve suffered.
Blake Griffin, Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic and Danilo Gallinari have all missed substantial time this season, which has made things all the more challenging for head coach Doc Rivers. Lou Williams has led the way with big offensive scoring nights, but the former sixth man of the year can only do so much with a subpar, injury-riddled roster alongside him.
Toronto has given us no reason to think they won’t be able to sustain this level of offensive production for the foreseeable future, especially against weaker competition coming up. It seems with each passing game, head coach Dwane Casey and his coaching staff are doing a better and better job of figuring out where each cog in the Raptors offensive machine works best.
It’s worth noting the Raptors enter this one on the second night of a back-to-back. It’ll be interesting to see how much energy they start the game with.
Projected starting lineups:
- PG Kyle Lowry
- SG DeMar DeRozan
- SF OG Anunoby
- PF Serge Ibaka
- C Jonas Valanciunas
Los Angeles Clippers
- PG Austin Rivers
- SG Sindarius Thornwell
- SF Wesley Johnson
- PF Danilo Gallinari
- C DeAndre Jordan