Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Raptors Poised to Break Franchise-Record Nine-Game Win Streak

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Raptors Poised to Break Franchise-Record Nine-Game Win Streak

Article excerpt

Raptors poised to reach new heights


TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan was 12 years old the last time the Toronto Raptors roared to a nine-game winning streak, setting a franchise record that stood for 14 years.

The Raptors had lost 13 consecutive games, and star Vince Carter was out with patellar tendinitis. But backed by inspired efforts by Antonio Davis and Keon Clark, they turned it around, winning 12 of 14 down the stretch to claim a playoff spot on the final day of the 2001-02 regular season.

The Raptors are poised to do one better Thursday night. A victory over the New York Knicks would stretch their win streak to a 10.

While streaks and all well and good for fans, coach Dwane Casey said his team isn't pausing to celebrate the numbers adding up in the win column.

"We can't dwell on that, we've got to go game for game, quarter for quarter, possession by possession," Casey said after Wednesday's practice at the Air Canada Centre. "To get caught up in those wins, you get caught up in the wrong things, and for me as a coach and for our team, it's good but it's not the end goal."

The Raptors could be without all-star point guard Kyle Lowry, who sat out practice with a sore left wrist suffered in the team's 106-89 victory over Washington the previous night.

The Raptors are just two games behind Cleveland for first place in the Eastern Conference. Their 30-15 record is identical to where they were at this point last season, and it meant little come playoff time when they were swept in humiliating fashion in the first round by Washington.

Casey has heard the criticisms this season.

"You hear all this, 'Well let's see what they do in the playoffs,'" he said.

But with key off-season additions Cory Joseph, Luis Scola, and DeMarre Carroll -- who is on the mend from knee surgery, and has yet to show how good he can be at full health -- the mood around the team is it's far better suited for the intensity of playoff basketball. …

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