Chris Bosh helped the Toronto Raptors top the Washington Wizards and their up-tempo offense in 2006-07, but he may not be available for this season's first meeting. With the Raptors playing tough defense, though, the All-Star forward may not be needed.
The Raptors, whose series with the Wizards in 2006-07 was highlighted by high scoring, look to win their fourth straight game as the teams meet Saturday night.
Bosh, who is contributing team highs of 18.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, averaged 30.0 points against Washington (7-9) last season, helping Toronto (9-7) win three of four games as both teams averaged 116.8 points.
The forward missed the Raptors' 91-82 victory over Cleveland on Friday night due to a strained groin, and his status for Saturday's game is uncertain. Toronto did get point guard T.J. Ford back after the point guard missed four games with a left arm injury, and he had two points and six assists in 16 minutes as a reserve.
"We told him to try to get everybody going and just see how he feels," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "You could tell he was rusty. He's only had one practice since he's been out."
Normally, Bosh's absence would make it difficult for Toronto to keep pace with Washington's offense. The Wizards had the NBA's fourth-ranked offense last season at 104.3 points per game, and currently averaging 101.3 points, but they're without injured guard Gilbert Arenas and teams are beginning to take advantage.
Washington has lost its last two games, averaging just 89.0 points. Toronto, meanwhile, has limited opponents to 83.7 points per contest during a three-game winning streak, and is yielding just 94.4 overall.
Friday's win marked the fifth time the Raptors held an opponent under 90 points, and they also improved to 4-0 when keeping an opponent under 40 percent from the field - a feat accomplished in each victory during the winning streak.
Andrea Bargnani and Carlos Delfino set career highs with 26 and 24 points, respectively. Bargnani - the top overall pick in the 2006 draft - started in Bosh's place and went 9 of 19 from the field.
Delfino, meanwhile, has played a prominent role during Toronto's winning streak, averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 54.3 percent (19-of-35) from the floor, including 7-for-14 from 3-point range. The fourth-year guard is averaging a career-high 9.6 points and shooting 43.5 percent from beyond the arc, well above his career marks of 4.8 points and 34.6 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Caron Butler scored 20 points and Antawn Jamison added 16 and 11 rebounds for Washington, but it wasn't enough in an 85-84 loss to Philadelphia on Friday night. The loss was all the more frustrating as 76ers tied a franchise record by going 0-for-14 from 3-point range and shot 39 percent overall.
"It wasn't a step back at all," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "We just lost the game."
The Wizards have dropped four of five after winning their previous six, and are 4-4 without Arenas, who is expected to be sidelined for three months.
Butler and Jamison have led Washington in Arenas' absence, averaging 22.6 and 21.5 points, respectively. Jamison has averaged 25.3 points in his last eight games, posting six double-doubles in that span.
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