Which team has the best record in the Eastern Conference? Which team is riding a five-game winning streak? Believe it or not, the team's not even based in the United States. In fact, it's the Toronto Raptors that sit atop the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors are armed with the best home record in the NBA (23-4) and are averaging the most points per game in the Eastern Conference (111.6 PPG). They also sport the greatest point differential in the Eastern Conference at +8.3. A big part of their success has been the breakthrough of DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan has elevated his game, scoring +4.2 PPG more than his career total (23.9 this season), making him a big part of Toronto's success. He's made more of his field goals (.463 FG %, .15 higher than his career total) and has hit more of his three-pointers this season (.339 3-pt %, .48 higher than his career total). DeRozan has also been a better team player , distributing the ball more and playing a bigger role as floor general.
Toronto has also played opponents tough from beyond the arc, limiting their opponents to .350 from the three-point line. Their opponent's adjusted field goal percentage is .498, good for third-best in the NBA. Toronto's stinginess on defense has been a key component for why they've been so successful, mainly because of the likes of Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas.
If Toronto is to compete and usurp Boston (who's competing for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference) and Cleveland (who reloaded their bench with key scorers), all hands with need to be on deck. They'll need as much stinginess as they can get defensively in order to make it to their first NBA Finals. In the Great White North, that's entirely possible.
Photo courtesy of ISX Canada
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