Raptors streak hits 10 with win over shorthanded Knicks
TORONTO — The 10-game winning streak the Toronto Raptors are on now is all part of the process coach Dwane Casey put in place five years ago.
''He told us to stick to everything he's showing us and teaching us from the beginning,'' DeMar DeRozan said. ''It's big, look at us now. We just beat some record today, just stuff like that.''
Kyle Lowry had 26 points and 10 assists, DeRozan also scored 26 points and the Raptors beat the New York Knicks 103-93 on Thursday night for the longest winning streak in franchise history.
Jonas Valanciunas added 11 points and 18 rebounds for the Raptors on the day DeRozan was chosen to join Lowry at next month's All-Star Game in Toronto.
''Words can't explain it, especially with the rough time I had last year, going down with the injury,'' DeRozan said. ''But everything is a process. Nothing was ever given to me. I had to work for every single thing I accomplished, individually and team wise. It was rough but I think that's made me into the person and player I am today.''
Lowry shook off a sprained left wrist sustained in Tuesday's win over the Washington Wizards to add 10 assists.
''He looked pretty good; OK, healthy and fresh,'' Casey said. ''It is still sore, but we can't dismiss the fact these young men have strung together 10, the first time in 20 years. It's not the end-all but it's an accomplishment.''
Arron Afflalo had 20 points for the undermanned Knicks, who matched a season high with a fourth straight loss. New York was without starters Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Jose Calderon.
Coach Derek Fisher was particularly critical of the fact that his team, which came into the game shooting an NBA-best 81.3 percent from the free throw line, could only convert 50 percent of its 20 shots Thursday.
''We didn't do enough things to win regardless of who suits up,'' Fisher said. ''Simple things, we missed free throws again tonight. We've been a great free throw-shooting team all season; didn't have the focus necessary to make those free throws. Offensive rebounding again hurt us a little bit. We had our chances; we couldn't capitalize.''
A 3-pointer from Sasha Vujacic brought the Knicks within eight points with 1:57 to play, but Lowry answered right back with a 3-pointer of his own 12 seconds later, and the Raptors closed it out from there.
''Tonight we definitely wanted to come out and try to have a defensive presence,'' Langston Galloway said. ''Down the stretch especially they made some good shots, got some attacks to the basket and we just couldn't get over the hump with the stops.''
MOVING ON UP
Lowry registered his eight double-double of the year and tied Alvin Williams (1,791) for second on the team's career assists list.
''I didn't call anyone yet. Kyle called me and asked me, so I wouldn't count that. I'm pretty sure my mom is going to cuss me out some because she saw it on TV.'' — DeRozan, on who he phoned as soon as he found out he was going to the All-Star Game.
Knicks: Anthony (left knee) missed his second straight game, while Calderon (groin) and Porzingis (upper respiratory illness) both missed their first game of the season. ... The Knicks are 0-6 in games without Anthony. ... New York is 6-2 in games in which Afflalo scores 20 or more.
Raptors: Toronto wore its black-and-gold Drake Night jerseys for the sixth time this season. The team is 5-1 when wearing its alternate jerseys. ... The Raptors are 8-1 in games against other Atlantic Division teams. Their only loss within the division was against the Knicks back in November. Since 2013, the Raptors are 30-11 against divisional opponents. ... The Raptors have won 21 straight games when holding opponents below 100 points, the second-longest streak in team history. Toronto leads the Eastern Conference with an 11-2 record in January.
Knicks: Host Phoenix on Friday.
Raptors: Host Detroit on Saturday.