The Toronto Raptors had endured two painful defeats in succession prior to meeting the Atlanta Hawks, losing to both the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder. It was integral they quickly got back to winning ways against the Hawks and that they did when they met in their final game of 2017. The Raptors, led by DeMar DeRozan, beat the Hawks 111-98, and in the games since, you could say they’ve shown they simply have too much ability for painful defeats to be common.
They’ve won three more games in a row. The real stars on the stretch have indeed been DeRozan and, on Friday, Jonas Valanciunas, although Kyle Lowry, Delon Wright and Jakob Poetl have also stood out. DeRozan managed to cap a great display by chipping in with an invaluable 25 points against Atlanta, a teaser of a likely Player of the Week performance where he’d average 35.7 points over three games. Valanciunas scored 13 along with 11 rebounds against the Hawks, numbers that paled compared to his third quarter against Milwaukee (20 and 9). Lowry looks to form, Wright had a career week, and the team is once again rolling.
The Raptors, who now have equalled the longest home winning streak in franchise history at 12 games, did well to break a two game slip up. Up next for them is a game against Brooklyn and then home games against Miami, Cleveland, and Golden State, where they had a real chance to impress. Sports fans will not only be able to follow all news on these matches and their favourite NBA teams, but check out a huge range of sport on Betting.com, a site renowned for their sports coverage and unbiased opinion.
What comes next will say a lot. It took overtime and a record-breaking performance from DeRozan to beat the Bucks once, 131-127, and then they needed no such performance in a dominant victory the next time they met. They beat a hot Chicago team in between, too, normally a tough task for the team in Chicago. DeRozan became the first player ever in NBA history to breach the 50 point mark on New Year’s Day, and he did so against a tough defense. The world will be watching how he performs against Cleveland and Golden State.
The same goes for Kyle Lowry, who has had playoff struggles, too, but usually plays well in these regular season meetings. Serge Ibaka will be worth watching as well, as he’s playing his best in years. The young bench will be up against tougher competition with teams that often play a star with their bench units and may have an advantage on paper.
It’s been a remarkable turnaround in form for the Raptors, shaking off any worry of their usual post-holiday slump. They have now won four games in quick succession and once again showed people just how good they are as a side, especially when the chips seem to be down. DeMar Rozan has once again shown just how important he is to the team, too, dominating over the last week and a half. This will be a good week for the Raptors to show this can stick against the NBA’s best.