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Raptors visit struggling Nets in search of ninth straight win
NEW YORK -- The Toronto Raptors own some gaudy numbers -- an eight-game winning streak, 49 victories and a dominant 29-2 mark against losing teams.
The Raptors get a chance to notch their ninth straight victory, reach 50 wins for the third time in team history and get their 30th win against a sub-.500 team on Tuesday night when they visit the Brooklyn Nets.
Toronto (49-17) is on its longest winning streak of the season after coasting to a 132-106 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon. If not for a three-point overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 22 at home, the Raptors would be on a 16-game winning streak.
Toronto is averaging 112.2 points and shooting 47.1 percent from the field this season. During this winning streak, those numbers are 114 points per game and 47 percent shooting with an offensive rating of 114.5.
"We just want to hoop, man," Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan told reporters. "Every time we get an opportunity to hoop, we're going out there and doing what we know how to do and that's to play, whether if it's an early game, a late game, whatever it may be. No matter who we're playing."
Dwane Casey is the only coach to win 50 games for the Raptors as he won 51 last season and 56 two years ago.
Before this three-year stretch, Toronto's winningest season was 49 in 2013-14 when its season ended with a one-point loss to the Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
During this streak, the Raptors have four wins over losing teams after posting their most points in a road game Sunday. After shooting 50.5 percent and hitting 16 of 35 3-pointers versus the Knicks, the Raptors have won 16 straight against losing teams since a five-point loss at Dallas on Dec. 26.
Toronto owns 23 victories by at least 15 points and 13 of those are against losing teams, which means stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry can rest in the fourth quarter like they did Sunday.
DeRozan played 28:20 and Lowry played 27:59. The star guards combined for 25 points. Lowry (16 points) was among seven in double figures, including Jonas Valanciunas, whose 17 points marked his seventh straight game in double figures.
The Raptors also can extend two more streaks. They are going for their seventh straight road win and 20th consecutive game in double figures.
Brooklyn is 3-17 in its last 20 games since Spencer Dinwiddie's winning shot beat Detroit on Jan. 21.
The Nets are coming off one of their worst showings of the season in a 120-97 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. Brooklyn allowed Philadelphia to shoot 80 percent in the first quarter and gave up 120 points for the 15th time this season. The Nets are 1-14 in those games and Sunday was their fifth loss by at least 20 points.
"Globally, they dominated us in every fashion," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters. "I don't think there was an aspect of the game tonight where they didn't dominate. They really got after us defensively, and offensively, we couldn't stop them."
D'Angelo Russell led the Nets with 26 points, but Allen Crabbe, who was coming off a 29-point game, was held to four points. DeMarre Carroll missed eight of nine shots, and Brooklyn shot 38.8 percent and was outscored 58-38 in the paint.
The Nets are 4-16 when scoring fewer than 100 points and have played 36 games decided by single digits.
The Raptors have won the last 10 meetings, though they almost saw the streak end Jan. 8. Toronto blew a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter and ultimately posted a 114-113 victory at Brooklyn when DeRozan scored 35 points and converted the go-ahead 3-point play with 26.1 seconds left in overtime.
Brooklyn's last win in the series occurred April 3, 2015. Since the teams met in the postseason, Toronto is 12-2 in the last 14 meetings.
Updated March 12, 2018