The Toronto Raptors are on the verge of matching the longest win streak in franchise history and emphatically sending a message that they are not the team that faltered badly in the playoffs a season ago.
The Raptors seek their ninth straight win Tuesday night and a four-game sweep of the visiting Washington Wizards, who may be without Bradley Beal.
Toronto (29-15) can post its first nine-game win streak since March 22-April 9, 2002. DeMar DeRozan is averaging 24.6 points in this run and Kyle Lowry 21.0.
''We are playing team basketball, so that's how it goes,'' guard Terrance Ross said. ''It's halfway through the season so we all know how to play. We all know where we like the ball and the tendencies of the other players, so it's all about playing together.''
The Raptors shot a season-high 54.5 percent on 3-pointers in Sunday's 112-94 home rout of the Los Angeles Clippers. They have made at least 11 3s while shooting 49.0 percent from beyond the arc in the first four of this seven-game homestand.
Toronto's play is bringing back belief for the club that was swept in four games in the first round by Washington last year. The Raptors have gained a measure of revenge by capturing the first three meetings this season, with DeRozan averaging 29.7 points and Lowry at 19.7.
Wizards star John Wall is averaging 19.3 points on 32.4 percent shooting in those games and he may not have Beal, the oft-injured guard who has played just once against the Raptors in 2015-16.
Beal took a forearm to the face from Boston's Marcus Smart in the second quarter and did not return in Monday's 116-91 home loss. Beal, who averages 18.5 points, was going through concussion protocol afterward.
Washington (20-22) completed a 1-3 homestand with a dismal effort, shooting 42.7 percent and committing 20 turnovers for its highest total in 25 games.
''It's an embarrassing loss,'' said forward Jared Dudley, who scored 15 points. ''I think guys (have) got to start looking at themselves in the mirror. I know we're trying to do everything the right way. Guys are playing hard, you're not questioning them like that, but overall we have to take it up another notch. And to lose that type of game (with) three, four days off, I think it's unacceptable.''
Wall had eight points on 3-of-11 shooting. He opened the homestand with a 36-point effort in a game Beal missed before averaging 11.7 on 33.3 percent shooting in the next three.
Toronto features one of the league's worst benches in terms of scoring, averaging 27.3 points. That unit, however, features an important cog in Patrick Patterson, who has scored in double digits in four of his last six games and has provided a tremendous boost.
"He comes in with his energy, with his rebounding, his running the floor, his spacing, everything he does he does with force and he kind of sets the tone for the second unit and we're gonna need that as we go forward and we continue down the schedule," coach Dwane Casey said.
The Wizards have dropped 10 of their last 12 regular-season games at Toronto and are 3-6 in the second of back-to-back games.