Toronto (51-17) have opened a five-game lead over Boston for both the Atlantic Division lead and top spot in the Eastern Conference with 14 games remaining. Given how the Celtics are resting All-Star guard Kyrie Irving for the next few games, coupled with an injury riddled roster overall, that five-game bulge is a commanding advantage.
The Raptors pushed their winning streak to a season-high ten games and have won 17 of 18 overall following a 106-99 win at Indiana on Thursday night that completed a three-game road sweep and set a franchise record for consecutive road wins with eight. DeMar DeRozan had 24 points and seven assists while center Jonas Valanciunas continued his recent strong play with 16 points and 17 rebounds.
The Mavericks (22-46) are facing back-to-back seasons without the playoffs for the first time since a ten-year drought from 1991 to 2000 but have won three of their last four after beating the New York Knicks 110-97 on Tuesday night.
Harrison Barnes scored 30 points, one off his season high, and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. added 17 as Dallas hit 14 3-pointers and snapped a five-game road losing streak. The Mavericks won the first game between the teams 98-93 on December 26 and are looking for the first series sweep since the 2014/15 season.