The Toronto Raptors (36-14) are the hottest team in the NBA while they ride an 11-game winning streak. The defending champion Raptors recently moved into the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff standings thanks to an MVP-like season from Pascal Siakam and the emergence of rookie Terence Davis.
The Raptors trail the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks (42-7), who hold the best record in the league. In the Western Conference, only the Los Angeles Lakers (37-11) have more wins than the Raptors.
During the 11-game winning streak, the Raptors went 8-3 ATS. The over total is also 8-3 in their last 11 games.
Raptors are a rare team that plays just as well on the road as they do at home. They are 18-7 in Toronto, and 18-7 on the road.
Nick Nurse, in his second-year as head coach with the Raptors, has an exquisite defensive squad this season, even with the departure of Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors allow only 105.9 points per game, which is the third-best defense in the NBA. On offense, the Raptors are in the middle of the road, scoring 112.6 points per game, which has them ranked #12 overall.
NBA Best 8 Teams (2019-2020)
Milwaukee Bucks 42-7
LA Lakers 37-11
Toronto Raptors 36-14
LA Clippers 35-15
Boston Celtics 34-15
Miami Heat 34-15
Denver Nuggets 34-16
Utah Jazz 32-17
Pascal Siakam has emerged as the Raptors team MVP. Siakam leads the team with 23.7 points per game. Shooting guard Fred VanVleet started every game this season. He’s averaging 17.8 ppg, which is nearly eight points above last season’s average.
Point guard Kyle Lowry stepped up in the scoring department. He now averages 19.4 ppg and 7.3 assists, which is almost five points above his career average.
Big man Serge Ibaka is providing steady veteran leadership along with 15.5 ppg and a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game.
X-Mas Skid, T-Davis Rising
After a 21-8 start to the season, the Toronto Raptors hit a skid around Christmas time. They’d go only 4-6 over a 10-game stretch.
By the time they got out of their funk, the Raptors were 25-14, and only 11 games over .500.
Since then, the Raptors won 11 games in a row and improved to 36-14. They moved to 22 games over .500. They also moved into the #2 seed in the east.
During their winning streak, the Raptors witnessed the transformation of rookie shooting guard Terence Davis, who is filling in for Norman Powell (broken finger).
Davis recently came off the bench to lead the Raptors with 31 points in a victory over the Chicago Bulls. He shot 12-for-15 from the field, including a scorching 6-for-7 from three-point land.
“The ball was going in, so I kept shooting,” Davis told reporters.
“Terence Davis is reaping some of the benefits of all his hard work,” said Nurse.
Davis went undrafted out of Ole Miss, but the kid can shoot lights out. He’s averaging 11.2 points over his last 10 games.
Davis got snubbed from the All-Star Weekend festivities and didn’t receive an invite to the Future Stars game. “I’m not saying I wouldn’t want to play in the game, because it’s a special event, but I would rather play in the playoffs,” Davis said of the snub.
The way Davis has been playing, the Raptors might stand pat at the upcoming NBA trade deadline.
On Deck: Indiana and Brooklyn Two-Times
The skid might end soon with a pair of games against the Indiana Pacers (31-19). Victor Oladipo is back with the Pacers, which makes them even more dangerous. The Raptors host the Pacers on Wednesday before flying down to Indianapolis for a Friday night game.
Over the weekend, the Raptors host the Brooklyn Nets (22-27). They play them again in Brooklyn sometime next week.
Next Monday, the Raptors take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (15-34), who have lost 12 games in a row.
According to a recent update by William Hill, the Raptors are 30/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship.