John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s anything we keep learning this season, it’s that the Toronto Raptors are relentless.

But that would reach a whole other level on Tuesday night. Without Kyle Lowry last month, the Raptors would decimate the Cleveland Cavaliers. But last night, they would take it to the east’s No. 1. And as the dust settled, the score read Toronto 111, Boston 91.

But they aren’t done yet, says Lowry.

We haven’t done anything. We’ve been in situations where we’ve been a top-four seed last however many years … and got swept one year. We just got to make sure we understand that the product isn’t finished until you get to the playoffs, and you’ve still got work to do then. We’ve got experienced guys in here and an experienced coaching staff that’s been through it before, so we know and understand that the journey is far from over. We’ve got to continue to get better. You don’t want to peak now. You want to peak when you need to peak.

He has a point, of course. Nothing matters too much until the postseason. But this looks like a slightly different Raptors team this season. We won’t know, of course, until that time comes. But it sure looks promising. For now, though, there’s plenty of praise to go around. And DeMar DeRozan credits Toronto’s bench for these performances.

I think a lot of teams, when their bench goes in, they’re going in just to sustain, or buy their starter’s minutes. Our second unit comes in with a lot of energy to win games for us.

On the season, the Raptors are 37-16. They are an astonishing 22-4 at home. So if the playoffs go through Toronto, watch out. But more than that? Toronto trails Boston by just one game now. There’s a lot to like about the Raptors right now. Boston’s Kyrie Irving agrees:

They played like an experienced, veteran group. They’re the best second unit in the league and they have confidence in themselves. Delon and VanVleet play well off one another and Siakam is just running rim to rim every single time, and Poeltl is protecting the rim. Then you fill in Kyle and DeMar with that group and they play at an unbelievable pace.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens likes what he’s seeing as well.

You clearly have a culture of player development and improvement here. There’s not many groups I enjoy watching more than (the Raptors’) second group when they’re all on the floor together.

But Raptors head coach Dwane Casey just wants to make one thing clear.

They’re important games, but they’re still two games. You can’t get caught up in it,. Thursday night (against the 11th-place New York Knicks) is just as important to me. That’s the main focus we’ve got to keep – the business-like approach. I know it’s boring, it’s not exciting, but it’s how you win in this league.

The praise is good. The statement over the Celtics is great. But the Raptors don’t want to stop there.

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This article first appeared on The Sports Post and was syndicated with permission.

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