The Toronto Raptors’ offense appears to be back on track after a miserable stretch.
DeMar DeRozan and Toronto can match a season high with a sixth straight victory Saturday night when they visit the Washington Wizards, who hope to be refreshed following a flurry of games in spite of the precedent they’ve set.
The Raptors (32-15) averaged 90.0 points on 39.2 percent shooting during a 1-3 stretch from Jan. 16-21. They’ve since averaged 111.0 points on 48.8 percent shooting during a five-game winning streak.
They also won six straight from Nov. 15-26 and Dec. 12-21. Both streaks included four home victories, while three during this run have come on the road, including Friday’s 127-122 overtime victory against Brooklyn.
DeRozan, who shot 35.7 percent when Toronto lost three of four, has scored 24-plus in three of four and had 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting against the Nets. He has 59 points in his last two games versus Washington.
DeRozan also had nine assists, matching his second-highest total ever. Toronto owns a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio during its winning streak after recording a 1.1 ratio when it lost three of four.
"I know I draw a lot of attention, especially when I get in the paint," said DeRozan, who averages 2.9 assists. " … It’s just me paying attention to how teams are going to defend me, defend us, where guys are going to be open."
Amir Johnson had 24 points – 14.1 above his season average – while reserve Lou Williams scored 25 two nights after recording 27 against Sacramento. Both performances helped buoy the Raptors in spite of Kyle Lowry’s 10 points on 4-of-17 shooting. He has shot 35.3 percent over his last seven games and is 11 for 31 in his last two versus Washington, though he has 10-plus assists in four straight meetings.
"Amir and DeMar held it down tonight," Lowry said. "They made all the winning plays."
DeRozan had 25 points in a 103-84 home win over Washington on Nov. 7, Toronto’s fifth victory in six meetings. The Wizards shot 36.1 percent with John Wall, Paul Pierce and Nene going a combined 8 for 35.
Washington (31-16) is likely relieved to have two days of rest since Wednesday’s 106-98 loss at Phoenix, its fourth game in five days. Each of those opponents rank 11th or higher in terms of pace, with the Suns at No. 2. The Wizards and Raptors prefer a slower style, ranking 20th and 18th, respectively.
Wall and Bradley Beal were a combined 10 of 31 versus Phoenix while Nene is questionable after sitting out with a sore right foot. The Wizards are 4-4 when he doesn’t play.
"It was our fourth game in five nights and we were playing teams that were pretty fast," said Wall, who had been 26 of 45 over his last three games before going 5 for 16. "Denver and L.A. and now them, so it was tough. I’m not looking for excuses but we definitely didn’t have the same energy as we usually do."
Washington is 5-5 with two or more days’ rest, however, and Wall is shooting 41.8 percent in those contests compared to 47.4 in all others.
Wall has been wildly inconsistent in his last six matchups with Toronto. He shot 60.0 percent or better with 31-plus points twice, while three other times he shot 29.4 percent or worse.
Beal is shooting 30.2 percent in his last four meetings.