Those Were the Days: The 11 Best Moments from the Raptors’ historic win streak

Here's some of the best plays and moments from the Toronto Raptors franchise-record 11 game win streak.

It was fun while it lasted.

The Raptors dropped the first game of their mini West Coast trip on Monday night, a 112-93 loss that snapped the team’s 11-game win streak—a franchise record, if you hadn’t heard.

We polled the Sportsnet newsroom for the best and favourite moments from the win streak (in no particular order):

1. Nothing but net

DeMar DeRozan’s 34 points against the Celtics (Jan. 20), including the ultimate heat check: his post-whistle floater that rainbowed 40-feet in the air and dropped through without touching rim. – Evan Rosser, Sr. Editor

2. Depth on display

What impressed me most during the 11-game win streak was the depth of the Raptors. And I say “depth”— not “bench”— because one of those second-unit guys has been starting and playing well (James Johnson filling in for the rehabbing Demare Carroll). In fact, the depth will have to continue to be a strong point for Toronto now that Johnson is dealing with a sprained left ankle. He left the Pepsi Center in Denver on crutches. But during the win streak the likes of Cory Joseph, Bismack Biyombo, Terrence Ross and Patrick Patterson played spectacularly. It’s easy to almost take for granted the scoring and contributions of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. However, when Ross and Patterson are spreading the floor, Joseph is attacking the hoop and handling the decision-making, and Biyombo is locking in on D, Toronto becomes truly dangerous. — Eric Smith, Insider/Voice of the Raptors on SN590 The FAN

3. Terrence Ross catches fire

During the streak
10.1 PTS/G (4th on team)
52.6 FG% (2nd among regulars)
43.8 3P% (1st among regulars)

Before the streak
8.0 PTS/G (7th on team)
40.4 FG% (8th among regulars)
36.4 3P% (4th) – Craig Battle, Sr. Editor

4. Luis Scola: Found Gold

Luis Scola continuing to quietly, consistently and selflessly play exactly the way his team needs him to. In a funny way, the best thing about Scola isn’t what he does; it’s what he doesn’t do. You’ll rarely catch him holding the ball for too long or taking a shot he shouldn’t or loafing out of position defensively or disrupting the flow of the offence. He plays within himself, sticking 15-footers when he’s left open or driving to the basket when the defence forgets about him for easy lobs from Lowry or Joseph. And his completely-out-of-nowhere development of a three-point shot (he’s attempted more threes this year than he did in the previous eight combined) is found money. He’s been the ideal complimentary piece. —Arden Zwelling, Staff Writer

5. Lowry and DeRozan’s all-star jersey presentation

It is fitting that both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were named all-stars at different points during this win streak. Two of the greatest Raptors to ever don the uniform were acknowledged for their achievements during the best stretch of basketball the franchise has ever seen. The actual jersey presentation was a sight to behold, as should-be Eastern Conference all-star coach Dwane Casey joined the duo at centre court to pose for photos and wave to adoring fans. True to form, Lowry and DeRozan also brought out their children to share the special moment with them. That image will be etched into Raptors’ lore. —Michael Hoad, Contributor

6. The bench as a whole

Since the streak began, the three players leading the Raptors in average +/- per game are Patrick Patterson (11.4), Cory Joseph (10.4) and Terrence Ross (10.3). Those three were 2.9, 2.2 and 2.0, respectively, before the streak. — Craig Battle, Sr. Editor

7. Star power in full effect

It may seem overly simple, but both DeRozan and Lowry played some of their best ball during the 11-game win streak. Often it can seem as though the Raptors’ co-captains trade off nights, the other content to let his teammate take over, and while each did a noble job of deferring when necessary, their parallel performances are what ultimately took the Raptors over the edge. It bodes well for the Toronto’s longer-term prospects this season, too, because if the all-star backcourt combines for over 46 points per game (as they did during the streak) they’ll have more than a fighting chance in any game, no matter the opponent. —Dave Zarum, NBA Editor

8. Bebe’s three-pointer against the Wizards

Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira doesn’t get a lot of run, partly because there’s two very capable centres playing ahead of him in Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo, and partly because right now he’s the kind of player whose flaws would become much more evident if you were exposed to him any more than you are. But its hard not to get excited when the huge Brazillian with the afro and crazy-man eyes hits the floor late in games. He brings all kinds of energy, is a stronger presence under the basket than he’s given credit for, and as he runs up the floor in transition he seems to always have his hand in the air, preposterously calling for the ball at half court (which maybe isn’t so absurd if you’ve watched any of his D-League highlights, which frequently feature him playing centre like a point guard.)

It’s a delight to watch. And every once and a while you get a flash of the talent that made him a 16th overall pick a couple years ago, like in the final minute of the Raptors recent victory over the Washington Wizards when Norman Powell found Nogueira standing at the top of the arc completely unguarded. The Wizards didn’t even feign respect for Nogueira’s ability to shoot, simply watching him idle there with the ball in his hands until he threw up a long three-pointer that found nothing but net. The best part? Nogueira turned around and calmly jogged back to the defensive end with an assured look on his face like, yeah, what else did you think was going to happen? The Raptors have scored an awful lot of points over their winning streak—but those were three of the coolest. — Arden Zwelling, Staff Writer

9. Biyombo’s smooth jumper

Bismack Biyombo’s game is pretty clear. He’s a scrapper who will wreak havoc on the boards and deter opponents with his exceptional shot-blocking ability. Any offence he chips in is just gravy, whether it come by tip-ins, alley-oops or free-throws. However, the backup centre showed off some impressive moves against the Pistons on Saturday night, nailing a pretty step-back, turnaround jumper before swishing a shot from just above the foul line. Don’t expect to see too many of those drop in the future, but his teammates and fans sure loved it. — Michael Hoad, Contributor

10. More DeMar

During the win streak DeRozan averaged 24.5 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game while shooting 44% from the field and 85% from the free throw line. Stellar numbers from the Raptors’ go-to scorer, but just as impressive was the way he went about amassing those numbers. DeRozan has never seemed more in control of his game. —Dave Zarum, NBA Editor

11. Raptors 905 going on a six-game win-streak at the same time despite no one noticing. — Arden Zwelling, Staff Writer

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