The Toronto Raptors' dream of a 68-14 record is officially over.
The Brooklyn Nets defeated Toronto 101-91 on Wednesday, ending the defending champions' 15-game winning streak. The Raptors are still an impressive 40-15 on the season, while the Nets improved to 25-28 in the potential playoff preview.
Brooklyn was without injured point guard Kyrie Irving, but Caris LeVert (20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals), Joe Harris (19 points and six rebounds) and Spencer Dinwiddie (17 points, nine assists and six rebounds) picked up the slack and bolstered the seventh-seeded Nets' playoff position.
Impressive performances from Serge Ibaka (28 points and nine rebounds) and Fred VanVleet (22 points) weren't enough to lift Toronto on the road.
While the winning streak came to an end, it's a testament to head coach Nick Nurse and the Raptors players that they have fared so well this season. Many assumed they would not be a serious threat in the Eastern Conference after reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard left in free agency to join the Los Angeles Clippers, but they look like a legitimate challenger to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed has an All-Star in Pascal Siakam, veteran leaders in Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, and young talent in VanVleet and OG Anunoby.
The Raptors also didn't just feast on afterthoughts during their franchise-record win streak. They handled playoff contenders in the Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers (twice) and Nets in a previous matchup. They're second in the league in defensive rating, per NBA.com, and they'll be a difficult out in the postseason regardless of opponent because of their ability to dominate on that end of the floor.
The Raptors will look to start a new winning streak when they face the Phoenix Suns on Friday, Feb. 21 in their first game following the All-Star break.