Warriors host Raptors, look to avoid rare losing streak (Dec 28, 2016)

BY AP • December 28, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Having disposed of two Western Conference playoff contenders to tip off a six-game trip, the Toronto Raptors take a step up in class when they face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.

The Raptors (22-8) flew west with a two-game winning streak and doubled it sandwiching Christmas with victories at Utah on Friday night and Portland on Monday.

Toronto might have lost supersub Terrence Ross in the win over the Trail Blazers after he had to leave the game with a sore right wrist. He is questionable for Wednesday.

In order to make it five wins in a row, the Raptors will have to do something that hasn't happened in 118 games -- hand Golden State a second consecutive defeat.

The Warriors are coming off a 109-108 loss to Cleveland on Christmas Day in a rematch of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Golden State has not lost back-to-back games since April 2015, having gone the entire 2015-16 season and the first 32 games of this one.

In fact, the Warriors (27-5) dominated their opponent following each of their first four losses this year, winning by an average of 13.8 points.

The Raptors saw the Warriors during Golden State's 12-game winning streak earlier meeting this season -- a 127-121 victory by the Warriors that opened a four-game trip. Stephen Curry (35) and Kevin Durant (30) combined for 65 points in the victory, which was the Warriors' fifth straight over the Raptors, and third straight by six or fewer points.

Coincidentally, Toronto faced Golden State immediately following a matchup with Cleveland in the Nov. 16 meeting.

Despite losing both the games, Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said he thought his club sent an early message that it could compete with anyone this season.

"We played both of the best teams in the NBA," DeRozan told reporters after the Golden State game. "We were right there with them and had a couple of stretches where we could put it away. We gave it away."

The Warriors felt the same away about their loss at Cleveland on Sunday. Golden State led by 14 points in the fourth quarter, only to watch the Cavaliers rally to win on a shot by Kyrie Irving, just as they had in Game 7 of June's NBA Finals.

Having completed a 2-1 trip, the Warriors had a long flight home to stew over a controversial finish in which Durant fell down before he would get off a potential game-winning shot.

"I was trying to make a move," he told reporters afterward. "I didn't fall on my own."

The NBA office reviewed the play Monday and announced that a foul should have been called on Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson for stepping on Durant's foot.

There certainly were no shortage of whistles in the first Warriors-Raptors matchup. Golden State was called for 25 fouls, resulting in DeRozan going to the free throw line 17 times (he made them all) and Kyle Lowry 12 times (he made nine).

The Raptors outscored the Warriors 37-26 at the line.

Wednesday's game begins a stretch of 10 games in which the Warriors never leave the state of California. The run, which concludes Jan. 20 with a trip to Houston, includes nine home games and a 90-mile jaunt to Sacramento.



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