The Toronto Raptors shocked the basketball world by winning the NBA title in 2018-19. Over the offseason, they lost superstar and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. While it was expected that the Raptors would still be a solid team, there figured to be a pretty big dropoff without Leonard (after all, the NBA is a star-driven league).
Well, it turns out the Raptors are still really, really good.
Toronto beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 137-126 on Monday night, for their 15th consecutive victory.
Winning 15 straight games isn’t just a Raptors franchise record- it’s the longest winning streak ever by a Canadian-based franchise in the NBA/NHL/MLB/CFL.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 11, 2020
The Raptors are getting it done with an all-around team effort, led by 25-year-old forward Pascal Siakam, who scored a game-high 34 points in Monday’s win (efficiently too: 14-of-21 from the field, 6-of-8 on 3s). Six different players have led the Raptors in scoring during the winning streak, and five players are averaging at least 15 points per game this season. Head coach Nick Nurse certainly deserves a ton of credit.
Toronto is now 40-14 on the season, placing them second in the Eastern Conference behind the Milwaukee Bucks (46-7) and two games ahead of the Boston Celtics (only the Los Angeles Lakers have a better record than Toronto among teams in the West).
Beating the Bucks in a playoff series would be an extremely difficult challenge, but it’s at least time to take the Raptors seriously as a threat.