TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors needed a late fourth-quarter comeback and some overtime resilience to dispatch the pesky Dallas Mavericks 122-115 Friday night, tying their franchise record of 11 straight wins.
It did not come easy with the Raptors, playing their second game in as many nights, looking short on energy and answers against a Dallas team playing better than its record.
But late mistakes by the Mavericks and some timely DeMar DeRozan offence turned the tide in Toronto’s favour as the Raptors won for the 18th time in 19 games in a contest knotted at 106-106 after regulation time.
Three-pointers by DeRozan and Fred VanVleet, off a big Serge Ibaka rebound, gave Toronto a 115-112 lead with 1:13 left in OT. After Canadian Dwight Powell hit a three-pointer for the Mavs, DeRozan sank a shot late to give Toronto a 117-115 lead.
Jonas Valanciunas added five free throws in the dying seconds for some insurance.
Seven Toronto players scored in double figures, led by DeRozan’s 29. Harrison Barnes led Dallas (22-47) with 27 points. Toronto was 10-for-30 from three-point range.
The Raptors (52-17) are an NBA-best 29-5 at the Air Canada Centre this season.
Down by six entering the fourth quarter, Toronto pushed hard but the Mavericks kept answering. The Raps cut the lead to 101-97 on four straight points by DeRozan and then to two at 103-101 and 106-104. After a Dallas turnover, DeRozan tied it on a jump shot at 106-106 with 1:15 remaining.
After Dallas was unable to score in a frenetic sequence, Toronto took a timeout with 21 seconds remaining. But Ibaka was stopped at the rim and the game went to overtime.
The Raptors were without star guard Kyle Lowry who was given the night off to rest after playing 32 minutes in Thursday’s 106-99 win in Indiana. Guard Norman Powell was absent for a second game due to a sprained ankle.
The Air Canada Centre, which had sold out for the previous 170 Raptors games, was slow to fill after two gates were closed due to a police investigation of a suspicious package that was eventually detonated. “Area is deemed safe,” police tweeted.
Delon Wright started for Lowry with rookie forward O.G. Anunoby returning to the starting lineup. Anunoby dressed Thursday in Indiana but did not play after missing the previous seven games with an ankle sprain.
An aggressive DeRozan went to the free throw line eight times in the first quarter, collecting 11 points as Toronto led 29-27. But a 13-2 run, sparked by three straight three-pointers, pushed the Mavs ahead 51-44 in the second quarter.
J.J. Barea scored 10 in the quarter to lead the visitors’ rally.
Dallas led 60-54 at the half as the Raptors, missing Lowry’s three-point touch, went 3 for 13 from three-point range. DeRozan added just two points in his total in the quarter on 1-of-6 shooting.
The Mavs shot 56.5 per cent in a first half that saw 11 lead changes.
DeRozan went down hard in the third after a collision with Powell but stayed in the game. The Mavericks frustrated Toronto with some aggressive defence but a 5-0 run at the end of the third quarter narrowed the Raptors’ deficit to 84-78.
The Raptors, whose victory in Indiana on Thursday night set a franchise record for consecutive road wins (eight), had not lost since Feb. 23 when they dropped a 122-119 decision to the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.
That loss to the Bucks was their only blemish in the previous 18 games.
Toronto also won 11 straight during the 2015-16 season (Jan. 6-30). The current streak ties Portland, which did not play Friday, for the longest active run of wins
Dallas had rebounded to win three of its last four after losing seven of eight, although all three wins came over teams currently out of the playoff picture (New York, Memphis and Denver). The loss was a 23-point beating by Houston.
Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki appeared in his 1,462nd regular-season game, tying Kevin Garnett for fifth on the league’s all-time list. Only John Stockton has played more games with one team (1,504 with the Jazz).
The 39-year-old German, in his 20th season, stands sixth on the NBA all-time scoring list with 31,000-plus points. The seven-footer added another footnote to his stellar career Friday with his 11,00th field goal, becoming the eighth NBA player to reach the milestone.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey, a former Dallas assistant coach, paid tribute to Nowitzki before the game.
“He made himself into a great player, a Hall of Fame player,” he said. “The work he put in. And so when he talks about work, he’s done it. I learned so much from him, just watching him and (I) have so much admiration. How big-time a pro he is.”
The last time the two met, Dallas downed the visiting Raptors 98-93 on Dec. 26 to snap a six-game Toronto win streak. The Raptors have gone 29-8 since.
DeRozan scored just eight points on 3-of-16 shooting that night.
NOTES: The Raptors signed forward Nigel Hayes to a second 10-day contract … Toronto, which came into the game 6-4 in back-to-back contests this season, entertains the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday … The Raptors have now scored 100 points in a franchise-record 22 straight games.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press