TORONTO — The Golden State Warriors are chasing history. They're unbeaten through their first 20 games, and on pace to break the NBA record for wins in a season.
Just don't mention that to DeMar DeRozan.
"Me honestly, I'm getting tired of it," the Raptors guard said. "It's a helluva record by them, but we've got to treat it like another game that we need to win."
The Toronto Raptors host Golden State on Saturday, and would love to avoid being the Warriors' latest victim.
Led by reigning MVP Stephen Curry — who spent three childhood years in Toronto, honing his shot at the Air Canada Centre while his dad Dell played for the Raptors — the Warriors are beating opponents with lopsided scores. They topped the Memphis Grizzlies by 50 early last month.
But the Raptors came close to handing Golden State its first loss back on Nov. 15 — on the Warriors' home court. Toronto was within a point with 15 seconds on the clock, before the Warriors pulled out the win with free throws.
Kyle Lowry had 28 points on the night, and said afterward: "We competed. We fought hard, man. It just sucks. We wish we could have pulled that one off."
They'll get another shot Saturday.
"We know we can go out there and play with that team," DeRozan said. "Just got to go out there and do what we need to do and execute from the start, and not wait."
He was referring to the Raptors' habit of slow starts. They dug themselves an 18-point first-half hole Thursday night, before battling back in a 106-105 loss to Denver. The team's inconsistency had head coach Dwane Casey furious after the game.
"We've got to get to a level of play that we decide we're going to play at from the start of the game to the end of the game," Casey said. "We can't wait to get our teeth kicked in before we start to play. That's been our M.O."
DeRozan said the team needs to be disciplined against Golden State.
"Once we do that at the defensive end, we know we can play with that team, no question about it," DeRozan said. "We proved that on the road at their place."
Win No. 20 for the Warriors was a 116-99 victory in Charlotte on Wednesday. On a night the Hornets honoured Dell Curry, his son stole the spotlight, scoring 40 through three quarters before sitting the rest of the game. Curry hit 14 of 18 shots, and went 8-for-11 from three-point range.
Golden State is chasing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who own the NBA single-season record for wins with 72.
Raptors GM Masai Ujiri will honour Nelson Mandela in his second annual "The Giant of Africa" tribute Saturday night. NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Ivorian soccer legend Didier Drogba are among guests who will be in attendance.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press