The Toronto Raptors are riding a five-game win streak heading into Friday's matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, placing them at 6-3 among the best teams in the NBA.
The Raptors are playing much better than anticipated for a team that went 18 games under .500 last season, lost the greatest player in franchise history during the offseason and was forced to start the year without their All-Star forward Pascal Siakam.
MORE: Injury update on Siakam - When will he return?
Just how did the five-game win streak come about? Take a look at five stats to know as they try and keep the streak alive at home against the Cavaliers.
Five stats to know from the Raptors win streak
3: Players averaging over 20.0 points per game
One of the Raptors' biggest concerns entering the season, in addition to Kyle Lowry's departure and Siakam's expected absence, was how they would generate enough offence to win games. Over the course of the five-game win streak, a couple of different players have presented themselves as reliable scoring options.
OG Anunoby (22.6), Fred VanVleet (22.2) and Scottie Barnes (20.0) are all averaging at least 20 points per game, doing so efficiently.
VanVleet's field goal percentage is particularly encouraging for a player who shoots just over 40.0 percent for his career, and as NBA.com's Scott Rafferty detailed, a lot of that has to do with the lead guard getting comfortable in unfamiliar territory - the midrange.
Anunoby has continued to build on his anticipated breakout season, furthering his lead as the Raptors' go-to scorer so far. Barnes has looked much more developed as a scorer than anyone could have expected, leading his entire draft class with 18.1 points per game.
As a result, over the five-straight wins, the Raptors own an offensive rating of 113.3, good for third-best in the NBA.
For a team that prides itself on the defensive end - and that's still the case, as we'll get to shortly here - they've looked pretty capable on offence.
3: Consecutive road wins
Of the five wins, three have come on the road, defeating the Pacers in Indiana, the Knicks in New York and the Wizards in Washington.
No team in the NBA has more road wins than the Raptors so far this season, who are a perfect 4-0 away from Toronto. The only other team that is undefeated on the road are the Golden State Warriors, who are 3-0.
This is significant for a couple of reasons.
First, is it possible their early-season success on the road is a product of playing every game away from home last season? Maybe that's too speculative, but it's something worth monitoring as the season goes on, especially considering eight of their next 11 games are on the road.
Also, it's worth noting that the Raptors went 11-25 on the road (away from Tampa) last year, with only five teams in the league recording fewer road victories. Only seven road wins shy of reaching that mark already this season, it's a sign of growth for this Toronto team.
16: Gary Trent Jr.'s number of steals, adding to his league-leading total
Trent has been a menacing defender this season and head coach Nick Nurse has acknowledged his improvements on that end of the floor.
"I think the other guy that probably doesn't get much talk about and is playing really, really good defence is Gary Trent," Nurse said, according to Sports Illustrated's Aaron Rose. "He's just all up over people and on people, and I'm really pleased.
"He's been really aggressive and good with that this year and that really, it's a big boost, I think, to our defensive lineup. It's been the biggest surprise of the season."
Trent has come away with 16 steals during the five-game win streak, adding to his league-leading 25 steals on the season. In fact, his 16 steals during the streak are more than all but 11 other players in the NBA so far. As a result, Toronto is averaging 11.8 steals per game as a team during this stretch, the most in the NBA.
Trent even won the Raptors a game against Orlando because of his quick and active hands.
SCARY GARY TIME pic.twitter.com/nweqyVnw0I- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 30, 2021
Trent was known for his offence and sharp shooting when the Raptors acquired him at the trade deadline last season, and it's only taken one offseason for him to develop into the type of hard-nosed perimeter defender Nurse loves.
22.6: Points off turnovers per game, the most in the NBA
To continue to harp on the Raptors' feisty defence, they're also doing a better job than any other team at converting turnovers to points the other way.
Averaging 22.6 points off turnovers during this stretch, Toronto is making teams pay for coughing up the rock. It has forced 18.0 turnovers per game over the win streak, fourth-most in the league. The Raptors have also dominated nearly every hustle stat category, leading the league in deflections per game (22.3) and loose balls recovered per game (9.0).
On top of that, they're doing a tremendous job of taking care of the ball, averaging the third-fewest turnovers in the league over the last five games (11.8).
Getting back to the tenacious and pesky brand of a Nurse-led Raptors defence has been a major key to their early-season success.
50.0: Svi Mykhailiuk's 3-point percentage
The Raptors brought in Mykhailiuk in the offseason to add a consistent perimeter shooting threat but he didn't see the floor much through the first six games of the season (including the first two games of the win streak).
Once Barnes went out with a thumb injury, Mykhailiuk became the next man up in the rotation and he's made the most of his opportunity. Knocking down six of his 12 3-point attempts, he's doing exactly what is being asked of him when his number is called.
Mykhailiuk has scored double figures in each of the last three games, playing a key role off the bench to the tune of 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
His sharp shooting will surely earn him another chance at playing time whenever the Raptors need a floor spacer.
What channel is Raptors vs. Cavaliers on?
- TV channel: SN One (Canada), Bally Sports Ohio and League Pass (USA)
- Radio: TSN Radio 1050
What time does Raptors vs. Cavaliers start?
- Date: Friday, Nov. 5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | 4:30 p.m. PT
Raptors vs. Cavaliers is scheduled to tip just after at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 5. The game will be played at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Raptors vs. Cavaliers Injury Report
|Raptors||Pascal Siakam||Out||Left shoulder; injury recovery|
|Yuta Watanabe||Out||Left calf strain|
|Cavaliers||Not yet submitted|
Raptors next five games
|Nov. 5, 2021||vs. Cavs||7:30 p.m.||Scotiabank Arena|
|Nov. 7, 2021||vs. Nets||3:30 p.m.||Scotiabank Arena|
|Nov. 10, 2021||@ Celtics||7:30 p.m.||TD Garden|
|Nov. 11, 2021||@ 76ers||7:00 p.m.||Wells Fargo Center|
|Nov. 13, 2021||vs. Pistons||7:30 p.m.||Scotiabank Arena|
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.