The Toronto Raptors are looking more and more like a potentially dangerous team in the Eastern Conference playoff picture after winning six in a row and 12 of 13 at Air Canada Centre.
The Sacramento Kings are working on a much less impressive streak.
Toronto looks to win seven straight at home for the first time in nearly three years Sunday afternoon by dealing the woeful Kings an 11th consecutive road loss.
The Raptors were 11-17 as of Dec. 16 and were on the outside of the postseason race, but they’ve gone 16-6 since then to move into fifth place in the conference.
The Raptors (27-23) have gone from allowing 108.6 points per game in their first 28 to 100.8 over their last 22, and their field-goal percentage of 49.3 since mid-December is the best in the NBA.
They’ve shot 50.7 percent in winning their last six at home by 10.0 points per game and were hot from 3-point range Wednesday. All five starters scored at least 14 points and Toronto went 10 of 19 from beyond the arc in a 108-99 win over New Jersey.
Sonny Weems(notes) didn’t hit a 3-pointer, but the second-year guard had career highs of 14 points and 11 rebounds in his fifth straight start as he fills in for DeMar DeRozan(notes) (ankle) and Hedo Turkoglu(notes) (fractured orbital bone).
“Sonny was energy and beyond tonight,” coach Jay Triano said. “Open drives to the basket he finished and he made plays for other people, too. The big thing for us was we needed help on the boards.”
DeRozan and Turkoglu could return to face the Kings (16-33), but Turkoglu has one reservation before facing his former team - the mask that Toronto’s medical staff wants him to wear for up to six weeks.
“It feels uncomfortable … I’m a grown man and make my own decisions,” Turkoglu said. “I try to focus on the game and not on my face. If I was wearing a mask, somebody could hit me, too.”
The Kings have fallen apart since around the time Toronto’s surge began. Sacramento was a surprising 13-14 as of Dec. 21 but is 3-19 since - going 0-10 on the road.
The Kings blew a 14-point halftime lead and lost 112-109 in overtime at Denver on Monday. Sacramento came back to Arco Arena and lost 115-113 to San Antonio on Wednesday before falling behind by as many as 29 on Friday in a 114-102 defeat to Phoenix.
“I don’t know what it is,” said Martin, who’s shot 36.0 percent in his last four games at Toronto. “It’s not me out there. I’ve never been in a situation like this before.”
Kings big man Jason Thompson(notes) should return after missing two games to attend a funeral, as he and Spencer Hawes(notes) will try to slow down Chris Bosh(notes). The five-time All-Star, who’s averaged 26.4 points over his last eight games, has scored 31 in each of the last two home meetings with Sacramento.
The Raptors have won five straight at Air Canada Centre in the series.