February 27, 2015

The Toronto Raptors gave the Golden State Warriors one of their toughest tests so far, rallying from a big deficit to have a chance to take the lead in the final seconds.

They at least came away with an idea of what it will take to slay the NBA's seemingly invincible juggernaut.

Golden State's seven-game road trip continues Saturday north of the border, where the Raptors hope to avoid yet another slow start as they attempt to stop the third-longest winning streak in league history at 24.

The Warriors (20-0) appeared to be on their way to another easy victory Nov. 17 against Toronto, but a 16-point halftime lead dwindled to one late in the fourth quarter.

Kyle Lowry was called for pinning Andre Iguodala's hand under his arm as Iguodala attempted to track down DeMar DeRozan with 15 seconds left, and Stephen Curry nailed four free throws from there - the last of his 37 points - to help Golden State escape with a 115-110 win.

"They are the champs and they've got the MVP," Lowry said. "There's nothing good that can come out of a loss. You can learn some things from it, but at the end of the day it's still a loss."

That was just about as close as anyone has come to beating Golden State after trailing by 15 over the past two seasons. The Warriors are 74-0 when building a 15-point lead since the start of 2014-15 - playoffs included - but Toronto may have discovered a few areas it can expose to finish the job.

The Raptors (12-8) shot 39 free throws - the most allowed by the Warriors this season - as Lowry and DeRozan got to the line a combined 25 times. Toronto also forced 20 turnovers that it turned into a season high-tying 24 points, and it held Golden State to 2 for 11 from 3-point range after halftime.

"That's their bread and butter," DeRozan said. "Take that away, try to make everything else tough on them."

Coach Luke Walton spoke after a rare Warriors practice session Friday, and it sounded like he'd been studying that box score.

"Our main focus going into this game has to be keeping them off the free-throw line," Walton said. "We've got to quit turning the ball over. That's not just against Toronto, that's against everybody."

Golden State had 20 or more turnovers 11 times all of last season but has already reached that mark seven times. It happened again Wednesday in Charlotte, but Curry's sixth 40-point game, a plus-12 rebounding margin and 16-of-34 shooting from 3 helped ensure those wouldn't be too costly in a 116-99 win.

The Warriors are the first team since the 1969-70 Knicks to win their first 10 road games, and have matched baseball's 1884 St. Louis Maroons for the best start to a season among America's four major pro leagues.

''It doesn't even sound right,'' Curry said. ''In the NBA, with so many good players and good teams, to be able to put on a run like this is special. We don't always play our best but we find ways to win."

Curry's typically been on top of his game against Toronto, with his 28.7-point average and 54.0 percent shooting in 11 games both registering as his best versus any opponent.

The Raptors have lost their last two at home after falling to Denver 106-105 on Thursday, and a slow start was again the issue. Toronto fell behind 29-19 after one quarter - the fourth straight game it's been down after 12 minutes - and trailed by as many as 18, all of which makes for an unhappy Dwane Casey.

"We can't wait to get our teeth kicked in before we start to play," Casey said.

Golden State has led by an average of 10.5 points after one quarter in its last five games.

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