The Toronto Raptors matched a franchise record Tuesday night by winning a ninth consecutive game, defeating the Washington Wizards by a score of 106-89 in a home contest at the Air Canada Centre, per Sportsnet Stats.
The team's previous nine-game winning streak took place from March 22, 2002, to April 9, 2002, with the impressive run boosting the Raptors from 30-38 to 39-38, ultimately leading to a playoff trip that quickly ended with a first-round loss to the Detroit Pistons.
While the ongoing streak may not have the same clutch aspect, this season's Raptors squad is hopeful for much more than a first-round exit, which was the team's fate in each of the previous two seasons.
In fact, the Raptors have only won one playoff series in seven trips to the postseason, and the franchise has yet to record a 50-win campaign since joining the league in 1995-96.
Now sitting at 30-15, the Raptors are on pace for 55 wins and have a 2.5-game lead over the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Arguably the best squad in franchise history, the Raptors have really locked in on the defensive end of late, with their 96.4 defensive rating during the winning streak good for second-best in the NBA over that span, per NBA.com/Stats.
It may still be hard to imagine the Raptors beating the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs in a playoff series, but a trip to the NBA Finals isn't out of the question, especially with the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers showing some vulnerability the past couple of weeks.