Week Record (4-0)
Overall Record (36-14)
The winning streak continues. With one more win, the Raptors will break their all-time win streak and set a new record with 12 consecutive wins. The Raptors have been on two other 11 game winning streaks, one last season after the All-Star break and one in January of 2016. This week was also filled with All-Star accolades. Kyle Lowry and Nick Nurse will join Pascal Siakam in the All-Star festivities in Chicago.
Tuesday, January 28th – Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks – W (130-114)
For the first time since NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s death, the Raptors played at home after playing the Spurs in San Antonio the Sunday it happened. The Raptors gave him and his daughter Gianna a pregame video tribute, featuring highlights from his legendary 81-point outing in 2006. The Raptors also planned to highlight the numbers 8, 24 and 81 to honor the late legend, but only Atlanta would hit one of those digits. Besides that, the one other thing of note was Kyle Lowry became the Raptors franchise leader in assists with 3,770, passing long time point guard and fan favourite Jose Calderon. He passed Calderon with a long outlet pass to rookie Terence Davis. Lowry finished with 12 points and 11 assists. The Raptors never trailed in this game and led by as much as 28. Serge finished with 24 and 10, stepping in for the injured Marc Gasol, who tweaked the same hamstring that caused him to miss 12 games. This was the Raptors 10th straight win against the Hawks.
Thursday, January 30th – Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors – W (115-109)
Despite their record, Cleveland played tough and almost came back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to be down by one point. But Norman Powell helped to stave off the Cavs, by scoring eight straight points, sealing the win. He finished with 16 points off the bench. Serge Ibaka got the start for the injured Gasol and had a game-high 26 points for the Raptors. Kyle contributed 23 points, five rebounds and five assists. He was named an All-Star reserve, joining Pascal Siakam as a representative of the Raptors, with Nick Nurse and the coaching staff potentially joining them as coaches for team Giannis with a win against the Detroit Pistons. Lowry was also pushed (again), by a fan when he dove into the stands for a loose ball.
Friday, January 31st – Detroit Pistons @ Toronto Raptors – W (105-92)
With this win, Nick Nurse and the coaching staff punched their ticket to Chicago and the NBA All-Star game. Despite their record, Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was ineligible because he coached team Giannis last year. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was the other candidate, but the Raptors had passed them in the standings. Helping Nurse with reaching this accolade was All-Star starter Pascal Siakam, who put up 30 points and seven rebounds, most of that in single coverage. Serge also added 21 points and six rebounds in his continued stay at starting center. Fred VanVleet almost had a triple double, with 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, but Nick Nurse pilled him halfway through the fourth. This was the Pistons’ fifth loss in a row, despite Andre Drummond putting up another 20 point and 20 rebound outing and Derrick Rose’s 21-point game. Even though both of them played well (and you can say that about the other opposing players) you didn’t really feel their impact on their teams because the Raptors stayed in control. The term “empty-calorie stats” really applies here. The Raptors will be without guard Norman Powell for about a month with a broken finger on his left hand.
Sunday, February 2nd – Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls – W (129-102)
Raptors rookie Terence Davis was the star of the show, putting up a career high 31 points while coming off the bench. Davis, who expressed his dismay with being snubbed from the NBA Rising Stars game on Twitter, took his outrage out on the Bulls. He shot 12 from 15 from the field, and six of seven from 3-point range. Five other Raptors rookies have scored 30 points, Despite the Bulls being up by three at halftime, the Raptors shut down the Bulls defensively by allowing only 39 points, and by running up the score with 69 points. Davis will definitely get more of a chance with Powell being out for extended time. Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Chris Boucher, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Patrick McCaw all scored in double-digits as well. With this win the Raptors also tied their best record 50 games with last years team at 36-14.
Player of the Week: Serge Ibaka
It’s time to show Serge a little more love for what he does for the Raptors. The Raptors center became the first player in NBA history to record 1500 blocks and 500 three-pointers. To me, that stat is mind-blowing in the sense that it is achievable but also that no one has achieved it so far, especially with how many big men have stretched their game behind the arc while still being good shot-blockers. Having two centers with different strengths is a luxury for this team, and with Gasol being out until Wednesday, it has been Serge’s time to shine. In the future I can see Serge getting more playing time to keep Gasol healthy for the playoffs.
Honorable Mentions: Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry.
Key Contributor: Fred VanVleet
Fred has a calming affect when he’s on the court. He’s a maestro, controlling plays and movement by usually making the right play at the right time (just like another guard we know). Steady Freddy has been consistent this week, with standout performances against the Hawks and Pistons. Also look for him to get more playing time while Norm is out.
Honorable Mentions: Norman Powell, Chris Boucher.
Standout Performance: Terence Davis – 31 points against the Bulls
Since the new year has arrived, Terence has broken his career-high with some regularity, once against Washington and once against Charlotte. He played 28 minutes off the bench (also more than Patrick McCaw) which may be more than what he could possibly play with Norm hurt, but someone will have to step up with guard scoring off the bench. Davis could fill that need in the meantime, as long as he doesn’t keep foul.
Best Opposing Player/Performance: John Collins – 28 and 12
John Collins has been really good since returning from his 25-game suspension. Averaging almost 20 and 10, he has been the perfect pick and roll partner for Trae Young. 28 points isn’t’ a rarity for him; he’s scored close to or above that seven times this season. But is he a power forward or a center? Atlanta has been in talks with defensive big men such as Clint Capela and Steven Adams, but John Collins would have to be in those deals. It will be interesting to see what they do.
Honorable Mentions: Andre Drummond, Thaddeus Young.
- Norman Powell will be out for at least a month with a fractured finger in his left hand.
- Marc Gasol and Rondae Hollis Jefferson will make their returns to the Raptors lineup on Wednesday against Indiana.
- Trade deadline is Thursday, February 6th, at 3 p.m. EST.
- Wednesday, February 5th – Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers
- Friday, February 7th – Indiana Pacers @ Toronto Raptors
- Saturday, February 8th – Brooklyn Nets @ Toronto Raptors