It was about 90 minutes before the second-last game of the NBA season was to unfold and Dwane Casey was trying to explain to an assembled group what had gone right with his Raptors in the last little while.

After all, they had beaten Chicago twice and Brooklyn once — both playoff-bound teams — and they had looked impressive at times doing it.

They had played hard and well and won games in somewhat surprising fashion.

Why? was the question.

“Most of all, just the focus,” he said. “This is the time of year, believe me, every coach I’ve talked to is pulling his hair out whether you’re in the playoffs or not trying to get that mojo going because the playoffs aren’t here yet and teams are going through the motions.

“And then there’s teams like us that are trying to get ready for next year and make summer plans. It’s that time of year and our guys have done a good job of maintaining their focus and that togetherness.”

Then the Raptors went out and proved their coach prescient.

Once again getting a solid game from both DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay, Toronto blew out the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks 113-96 at the Philips Arena

Now, the Hawks kind of took the night off — sitting Al Horford and DeShawn Stevenson all night and giving Josh Smith the second half off — but there have been so many nights that Toronto has played down to the level of the opponent that it had to please Casey to see them take control early.