The wins keep coming for the Toronto Raptors, who continue to flourish behind a collective group effort.
Toronto tries to extend its winning streak to six for the first time in six seasons when it visits the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
The Raptors (12-2) have climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference after winning 10 of 11, including five straight by an average of 17.0 points. Toronto hasn’t posted six consecutive victories in the same season since March 22-April 4, 2009.
"When we win, we still have very serious conversations about how we can get better," backup guard Lou Williams, who spent the previous two seasons in Atlanta, told the Raptors’ official website. "Guys hang out a lot off the court in this group just talking about things we can do to turn that page, go to the next step and get to that next level. The culture has been building and it’s a positive experience."
DeMar DeRozan is averaging a team-leading 20.2 points while Kyle Lowry ranks second at 18.4. The Raptors, third in the league with 106.7 points per game, have three others players averaging double figures in Williams (13.6), Jonas Valanciunas (12.3) and Terrence Ross (10.9).
"It’s a (heck) of an unselfish team," Lowry said. "It’s a team where it doesn’t matter who is most successful. Everybody wants to win games."
Williams scored a career-high 36 points in Saturday’s 110-93 win at Cleveland, and Valanciunas posted a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds in Monday’s 104-100 victory over Phoenix. DeRozan scored 14 of his 23 in the second half as Toronto retook control after blowing a 17-point lead.
"Each night is going to be a different story and each night there is going to be a different star of the story," coach Dwane Casey said. "Everybody has to step up when their chances come. We try to run things that go with the guys that have it going."
The Raptors had a season-high 52 points in the paint and scored 24 off 20 turnovers. They have won 35 in a row when leading after three quarters, including all 10 games this season.
Toronto took a 15-point lead into the fourth before getting by Atlanta 109-102 in both teams’ season opener Oct. 29. The Raptors had dropped 15 of 18 in the series before winning four of the last six.
Another victory could be hard to come by in Atlanta, where Toronto has lost 10 of 12. The Hawks have averaged 104.5 points in opening 5-1 on their own court.
Atlanta (7-5) returns home looking to make it three in a row after pulling out a 106-102 victory at Washington on Tuesday. Jeff Teague scored a season high-tying 28 points for the second time in as many games while reserves Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack combined for 30, including the Hawks’ first 16 points in the fourth quarter.
"We have a lot of confidence in those two guys," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They believe in each other and believe in what they’re doing on both ends of the court. At times they can both get going."
Teague is averaging 26.3 points over the last three games, up from his season mark of 17.8. He’s averaging 23.3 during a three-game stretch against Toronto.
DeRozan is averaging 23.9 points on 50.0 percent shooting in the last 10 games against Atlanta, but was held to 15 on 4 of 16 from the floor in last month’s matchup.