The Toronto Raptors' historic 15-game win streak has come to a close with a loss to the Brooklyn Nets. The streak lasted exactly one month, marking their first loss since way back on Jan. 12.
Not only was this the longest win streak in franchise history, but it was also the longest win streak in the history of Canadian professional sports.
Take a look at a few things we learned about this Raptors team during their run.
When healthy, Raptors are the 2nd-best team in East
At the start of the season, the Raptors were on a roll. And the reason why is simple: health.
Since seemingly the second week of the season, somebody important has been banged up and out of the lineup. Just when one starter would get back, another would go out. The Toronto Raptors became the Toronto Chameleons, drastically changing their appearance and style based on availability.
With the NBA's easiest schedule in January providing a fortuitous opportunity to stay in the mix for the two seed in the East during their bout with the injury bug, the Raptors are well positioned to pick up where they left off at the start of the season.
Nobody is catching the Bucks, who might win 70.
But the Raptors are proving that when healthy, there's not a more complete team in the Eastern Conference outside of Milwaukee. Everyone knows their role and perhaps most importantly, knows how to adapt when needed.
- Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13)
Terence Davis is the real deal
In response to not making the Rising Stars roster, Terence Davis tweeted, "I guess it's easy going undrafted to playing quality mins on a championship team."
He had a point.
There are rookies averaging far more points, rebounds, assists and steals than him on the season, but Davis is making a real impact on a team that currently has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. That's no easy feat.
Davis showed his value time and time again during the streak. In a win over the Washington Wizards, he tied his career-high of 23 points at the time, doing so in only 23 minutes off the bench. Three weeks later, he set a new career-high with 31 points against the Chicago Bulls, once again in limited minutes (28) off the bench.
Davis then helped the Raptors set the franchise record for consecutive wins in Toronto's victory over the Indiana Pacers. Not only did he score 11 points in the win, he closed the game over OG Anunoby. And while he didn't score a single point when the Raptors made their comeback in the fourth quarter, he helped keep Indiana's defence honest by serving as another scoring threat alongside Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka.
Two nights later, Davis played a key role in extending Toronto's franchise-best streak to 13 wins, this time with an 11-point fourth quarter against the Pacers where he put his full repertoire on display.
Southaven's finest.@TerenceDavisJr | #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/9ZhRhqkP3V- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 8, 2020
Siakam said it best after that game.
"Man, he's special. The things that he does, not being drafted and not caring what's going on out there. No matter who the defender is, no matter who the opponent is, he doesn't back down."
We won't be seeing him in the Rising Stars game, but Davis has proven to be way more than a cute story. There should be no doubt anymore that he belongs in this league.
- Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)
Nick Nurse is the Coach of the Year
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Nick Nurse is the Coach of the Year.
We saw what he did when guys were in and out of the lineup, the team played as well as they could've and Nurse had them hanging in there with the best in the East. Now that they're healthy, we see what the team is capable of.
They're nine deep and more on some nights and everyone not only knows their role but accepts it. The disease of ME hasn't infected this team. It's a carryover from a year ago when the team could've self-destructed many times.
Not a bad start to 2020. Congrats, Coach! #WeTheNorth- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 3, 2020
🔗: https://t.co/aWici1iYBk pic.twitter.com/uo4XHKE6kB
It was great to see Nurse win Coach of the Month for January. We'll also get a chance to see him and his staff coach the NBA All-Star in Chicago in a week. Those are all nice accomplishments and show that he and his staff are indeed being recognized. But that's not enough.
Nurse deserves Coach of the Year love and this win streak is proof of that.
- Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay)
Serge Ibaka's value cannot be overstated
Marc Gasol went down with a re-aggrevated hamstring injury midway through the team's win streak and the Raptors still didn't skip a beat.
It shouldn't be so seamless to replace a player like Gasol, who brings so much on both ends of the floor as a defensive anchor and playmaker.
Luckily for Toronto, they have a guy named Serge Ibaka who is ready to step into an increased role at any given moment. He's willing to take on any assignment head coach Nick Nurse gives him - whether it's as a rebounder and a defender, a scorer, a bench player, a starter - it doesn't matter. Ibaka is going to step up every. single. time.
Over the 15-game streak, Ibaka averaged 17.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game shooting 57.4% from the field and 43.1% from 3. In the six wins without Gasol in the lineup, Ibaka bumped his scoring average up to 21.2 points per game shooting an even more efficient 60.9% from the field to go with 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
Even in the contest that snapped the streak, Ibaka was the best player on the floor giving the Raptors their only bit of life they had to try and keep the streak alive with 28 points, nine boards and two blocks.
The 11-year veteran's consistency has been key all season with the number of injuries this team has suffered. When Serge is healthy, he's helping this team in any way he can. It's invaluable to have a presence like that on the floor, on the bench and in the lockerroom.
- Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
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