The Toronto Raptors secured a franchise-record 50th regular season win with their 105-97 victory against the Atlanta Hawks at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.
It is yet another historic moment for a team that has endured a tough road establishing itself as a major NBA franchise. They became the last of the 30 teams to reach 50 wins in a single campaign.
Under the tutelage of Dwayne Casey, the Raptors have gradually improved since he was appointed in 2011 and are now serious contenders to win the Eastern Conference and make a first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals.
Have your say on GiveMeSport - NBA by taking part in our survey here: http://gms.to/1ZIq9kk
Article continues below
DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 26 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists in the win. Having been a part of the team since being drafted in 2009, DeRozan is currently Toronto's longest serving player and, after featuring on some poor teams, resulting in four years out of the playoffs, the shooting guard can appreciate how special this moment is.
"It means everything to me," DeRozan said. "This is where I've been my whole career. I've been through the tough times. Now to be, what do you call it, the winningest Raptor of all time and now to break the franchise record three years in a row, it definitely means a lot to me.
Article continues below
"You can never take that away. When (reporters) bring up things that I've done here, reality really hits me, honestly, because you really don't think about all of the things you've (done) or things you've accomplished. This group, I have to tell everybody, is going to go down in the record books."
The win all but ensured the Raptors will finish the year in the second spot in the east, which will be their highest ever finish.
Hopes of claiming the number one seed from the Cleveland Cavaliers are still very much alive too, as they are now just two games back and crucially hold the tie-breaker in that series.
The result and performance was the perfect way for Toronto to bounce back from a 19-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in their previous outing. It was also pleasing because of the opponents.
The Atlanta Hawks have been the best defensive team in the NBA since the All-Star break and will be possible second round opponents for the Raptors.
Despite the historic achievement, point guard Kyle Lowry says the team is not prepared to rest on their laurels and knows they can do better.
"I think everyone in this organization that's been here has built it up to be a winning organization," Lowry said.
"I think we've been on the right track and continuing to grow. We're not just satisfied with 50 wins. It's a great benchmark to get, but at the end of the day, we still want to be playing as long as possible: as close as possible to the end of the whole NBA season."