Posted January 03, 2013 on
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The Toronto Raptors are playing their best basketball of the season. There's no guarantee that will continue, even with one of the NBA's worst road teams in town.
Toronto goes for a fourth straight victory overall and sixth in a row at home when it faces the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
The Raptors (12-20) are still in last place in the Atlantic Division, but they've made vast improvement in the past three weeks, winning eight of nine.
Toronto has played 10 straight games without Andrea Bargnani, the last four without Jonas Valanciunas and the last two minus Linas Kleiza, but it's managed to keep on winning. Getting six 3-pointers and 26 points from Terrence Ross and 24 from DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors defeated Portland 102-79 on Wednesday.
It might have been Toronto's best offensive effort of 2012-13 as it opened a season-high six-game homestand by shooting 53.2 percent and recording a season-best 34 assists. Point guards Jose Calderon (13 assists) and Kyle Lowry (nine) did not score.
"We started playing the game the right way (after an 18-point loss at Portland on Dec. 10), sharing the basketball, putting more focus on the defensive end," coach Dwane Casey said. "We're a totally different team today, with our approach, than we were then.''
Casey's team has held opponents to 90.4 points per game in the past nine contests, and it's outscored foes 109.7-88.0 during its three consecutive wins.
While a matchup with the Kings would seem to be a prime opportunity for the Raptors to keep rolling, Sacramento (12-20) took the first meeting 107-100 on Dec. 5. Every Kings starter scored in double figures as the club overcame 34 points and 11 assists from Lowry.
Though the Kings are 2-13 away from home, they're confident they can complete the season sweep after ending a seven-game road skid with a 97-94 victory over Cleveland on Wednesday. Sacramento, which played without Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, has won five of eight.
"We're playing a lot better as a team right now," forward Jason Thompson told the league's official website after scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Evans will miss a 10th straight game and Thornton is questionable after sitting out the last two, but DeMarcus Cousins could be a bigger key to the Kings' success. The third-year center is averaging 16.5 points, 12.5 boards, 5.8 assists and 2.3 steals in four games since serving a two-game suspension for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.
"I want to keep out the negativity and not bring any more negativity to this team," said Cousins, who had 25 points and 13 boards against the Raptors last month. "I want people to be talking positive about Sacramento and what we're doing."
The Kings ended a seven-game skid at Toronto with a 98-91 victory Jan. 11 behind 21 points and 19 rebounds from Cousins.
Sacramento hasn't won two in a row away from home since a three-game run March 23-27, 2011.
Toronto is on its longest home winning streak since posting eight consecutive victories Jan. 17-Feb. 10, 2010.
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Many basketball coaches preach to their players to not pick up their dribble unless they’re going to pass or shoot it. The Raptors’ Amir Johnson picked up his dribble Wednesday night, but chose option (c) which was dribble again to get a better look at the hoop. Per NBA rules in which the double dribble and traveling are both optional, it wasn’t called. And actually, it...
Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson got away with what may be the most blatant double dribble in the history of the NBA during the first quarter of Wednesday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
It's not even close how obvious this double dribble was. Johnson dribbles to his right, stops, fakes the shot to juke the defender, then dribbles again and makes...
Andrea Bargnani was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006 and has not developed into the franchise player the Toronto Raptors hoped he would become. The team has had one winning season since he was drafted, and they actually started winning this season after he got hurt. Though he is talented, one of his big problems seems to be his mental toughness.
Sam Mitchell coached the Raptors...
There is a very interesting situation brewing in Toronto, this time involving the guards instead of the big men. Kyle Lowry is still coming off the bench, this time with 22 minutes, taking 2 shots (missing both from downtown), and throwing in 2 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals. Believe it or not (but believe it you shall), Jose Calderon had a similar line (0 points, 1 rebound, 13...
Amir Johnson had 17 points in the Toronto Raptors win over the Trail Blazers last night. After watching this Gif you will probably wonder why he didn't have 15 points. Not sure how the refs let him get away with this walk. I guess the jump stop must have fooled them all.
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The NBA gets its fair share of criticism for often playing fast and loose with rules such as traveling, palming and continuation after fouls. One rule that usually gets called, though, is double-dribbling.
That didn’t stop Raptors forward Amir Johnson from getting away with it on Wednesday night, taking a long pause in between dribbles before scoring a runner against the Trail...
Someone needs to give NBA refs a refresher course on what it means for a player to double-dribble. You know, dribbling the ball, then stopping, then dribbling the ball again is a no-no in the NBA. However, it seems the refs during last night's Raptors-Blazers game forgot all about it.
During the first quarter of the game, Raptors' Amir Johnson took did a blatant double...
Terrence Ross scored a career-high 26 points, DeMar DeRozan had 24 and the Toronto Raptors snapped an eight-game losing streak against Portland by beating the Trail Blazers 102-79 on Wednesday night.
Ed Davis had 19 points and Amir Johnson 17 in Toronto's first victory over the Trail Blazers since a 116-109 double-overtime win on Jan. 13, 2008.
Ross had a career-best six 3...
To be fair to NBA referees, there are plenty of missed calls that go on during games but this one during last night's Raptors/Blazers game was pretty egregious.It happened in the first quarter of play and keep an eye on Amir Johnson's dribble before his shot over Portland's J.J. Hickson:Johnson's reaction is priceless.... (Courtesy of Holdout Sports)
TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors are a different team than the one that lost to the Portland Trail Blazers last month. In their rematch with the Trail Blazers on Wednesday, the Raptors led all the way to record a decisive 102-79 victory before an announced crowd of 18,117 at Air Canada Centre. "It was totally different," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "Today, with...
Terrence Ross scored a career high 26 points in the Raptors' 102-79 win over his hometown Blazers.
Explain this. First of all it’s the NBA and players at that level should know the most basic rules. Secondly, how do three referees miss the call after the player dribbles, stops and picks up, dribbles again and scores. Maybe Amir Johnson of the Toronto Raptors has found an exception to the rule and chose [...]
After starting the season at 4-19, the Toronto Raptors have won seven out of their last eight to pull themselves back into the playoff hunt.During Wednesday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, rookie Terrence Ross caught fire and hit this impressive buzzer beater to end the first half:
TORONTO - Center DeMarcus Cousins had season highs with 31 points and 20 rebounds and the Sacramento Kings defeated the Toronto Raptors 105-96 for their second win in a row Friday at Air Canada Centre. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak by the Raptors, who have won eight of their past 10 games. The Kings (13-20) have won four of their past five games. John Salmons added...