(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors own the best record in the Eastern Conference and will try to improve on that mark Friday night when the upstart Milwaukee Bucks stop by Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors have won two in a row and seven of their last eight. Perhaps their best victory of this early season came Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Toronto pulled off a 96-92 home win over the team with the league's best record. It was the Raptors' seventh home victory this season, which tied them with Portland for the most in the league. Friday's game will end a franchise- record seven-game homestand and Toronto is 5-1 on the residency.
The Raptors overcame an 11-point deficit against the Grizzlies.
DeMar DeRozan supplied 21 points, while his backcourt mate, Kyle Lowry, posted 18 points with seven assists. Terrence Ross was a focal point in the victory, scoring 14 of his 16 in the fourth quarter.
Memphis led by five with under four minutes to play in the fourth when the Raptors locked down on the defensive end. Ross nailed a 3-pointer before Lowry converted a layup to tie the game.
Mike Conley countered with a jumper with 2 1/2 minutes remaining, but that would be the last gasp from the Grizzlies' offense. DeRozan knotted the score back up with a pull-up jumper, then Lowry followed two misses at the free throw line from Marc Gasol with a driving layup. Lowry then put the game away as he dribbled out the clock and hit Conley with a step-back jumper in the closing seconds to account for the final margin.
"I think my teammates and my coaches can always depend on me to make the play at the end," said Lowry. "On the first one DeMar made a great pass and I got to the lane and he gave me a driving lane on the second and I just made the shot."
The Raptors were squashed on the glass, 50-35, but did hand out 24 assists. They committed just eight turnovers and rank second in the league in fewest giveaways.
The Bucks have been one of the surprises this season after they finished with the worst record in the league in 2013-14. They've won three straight and five of six.
No victory was sweeter than Wednesday's triple-overtime, 122-118 thriller against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.
It was head coach Jason Kidd's return to Brooklyn after coaching them last season. The Nets advanced in the playoffs, but a reported power play by Kidd didn't work and he left for Milwaukee.
"I know he wanted it bad, but I think the players wanted it more than he did," guard O.J. Mayo said about Kidd. "For him to come to Milwaukee and give us hope. We're a good young team and we wanted it for him."
Jabari Parker scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Bucks. Mayo added 21 points off the bench while Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight netted 18 apiece.
Knight had a chance to win it in the first overtime. He intercepted a Joe Johnson pass with 2.9 seconds to go and raced down the court. With Mirza Teletovic tracking him, Knight sprinted to the basket and got there in time to beat the buzzer, but his layup had too much on it and bounced off the rim.
Knight, who shot just 5-for-20, made up for the missed layup by potting a triple out of a timeout at 19.6 of double OT, tying the game at 112. The Bucks simply outlasted the Nets in the third extra session.
The Raptors swept the four-game season series against the Bucks last season, but Milwaukee is 6-4 in its last 10 north of the border.