SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Dwane Casey's 500th career game as Toronto's coach had plenty of moments to go sideways, especially after his team let a 15-point lead slip away in the first half.
But DeMar DeRozan's decision to be more aggressive in the third quarter kept the Raptors on track and they extended their longest winning streak of the season.
DeRozan scored 13 of his 25 points in the third quarter as Toronto held off the Sacramento Kings 102-87 yesterday for its sixth-straight victory.
Kyle Lowry added 15 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists on an off-night shooting, Serge Ibaka scored 20 points, and C.J. Miles had 11 for the Raptors.
They won for the first time in Sacramento since 2014.
“That's something we've got to fight for is consistency and make sure it doesn't become a habit,” Casey said, referring to Toronto's blown early lead.
“We've got to fight that,” he stressed.
“But I thought our defence carried us when we couldn't make shots.”
Toronto led by 17-2 just four minutes into the first quarter but couldn't shake the Kings until the third, when DeRozan repeatedly got into the lane and to the free-throw line.
He also made two late baskets in the fourth after Sacramento pulled to within 90-83.
DeRozan shot 9-of-15 and was 7-of-11 on free throws while going over the 12,000-point mark for his career.
He went into the game six points shy of the milestone.
“Just being aggressive, picking and choosing my spots, understanding my knack of trying to get to the free-throw line when I can get to the free-throw line,” DeRozan said.
“That's all that was, me understanding the moment.”
That helped extend Toronto's longest winning streak of the season and end a four-game skid against Sacramento.
Casey, meanwhile, is the winningest coach in franchise history.
“That means you're old,” Casey quipped.
The teams will meet again in Toronto this Sunday.
Zach Randolph had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, with Buddy Hield adding 17 points.
Two days after an overtime road victory in New Orleans, Sacramento couldn't sustain the momentum and dug a hole with eight turnovers in the first quarter.
Toronto scored the first 13 points and led 17-2 on DeRozan's short jumper four minutes into the first quarter.
Sacramento cut it to five going into the second and went ahead 29-28 on Frank Mason's two free throws with 8:06 left before the Raptors went on another run late to go up 54-46 at halftime.
The Kings cut it to 67-64 on Bogdan Bogdanovich's three-pointer midway through the third, but Lowry scored on a three-point play, added a 16-foot baseline jumper, and made two free throws to help the Raptors pull away
Sacramento committed 21 turnovers, leading to 27 points for Toronto.
“We struggled to score the basketball and our turnovers were a big Achilles heel for us,” said Kings' coach Dave Joerger.
“Their veterans all-stars were terrific for them and kind of handled the game.”
The six-game winning streak matches Toronto's longest since it won 11-straight during the 2015-16 season.