By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards make a stop north of the border tonight as they take on the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre (7:00pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Raptors beat the Wizards, 96-88, last Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
The Wizards bounced back with back-to-back wins against the Nuggets and Rockets over the weekend after falling to the Raptors last Tuesday. For whatever reason, the Wizards seem to play better against teams with winning records, as they have won five straight against winning teams. They have won six of their last eight overall, but one of the two losses came against these Raptors.
Like the Wizards, the Raptors may be playing their best basketball of the season and are winners of six of their last seven. They are coming off an impressive 100-98 win over the Knicks on Friday, which was the second time they've beaten New York in the past two weeks. One of the major reasons for their recent success has been the acquisition of swingman and local product Rudy Gay.
Gay has averaged over 21 points and nearly seven rebounds per game since joining Toronto and has become the go-to scorer they were looking for. Pairing him up with DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry has produced some exciting basketball in Toronto and although it is a small sample size, they are 7-3 since adding Gay to the lineup.
In their last meeting, it was Gay and DeRozan who did the most damage, scoring 24 points apiece in the Raptors win. Kyle Lowry recorded a double-double, scoring 11 points and dishing out 10 assists. The Wizards will need to do a better job limiting this trio to change the outcome tonight.
Although the Wizards struggle offensively in that game last Tuesday, Bradley Beal led the team with 25 points and has really turned it on of late. Beal is averaging 20.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in his last five games. He has emerged as a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year and is one of the go-to options for the Wizards on offense.
The Wizards scored over 100 points in their last two games, but tonight's game should be played at a slower pace. Unlike the Nuggets and Rockets, the Raptors value defense more then getting the ball up and down the court so this game could be played in the 80's or 90's. John Wall had an off-night in their last game on Tuesday, but if he gets going and provides his usual spark, the Wizards should be in prime position to get a road win tonight.
The action kicks off at 7:00pm
John Wall averaged 16.8 points, 7.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds in four games versus the Raptors last season. He has tallied double-doubles in the Wizards last two games and will need to get the offense going tonight, as the team struggled offensively against Toronto last Tuesday.
Tonight he goes up against a versatile point guard in Kyle Lowry. He is a guard that does a little bit of everything as he'll help on the glass, dish the ball out, and score when he needs to. Now that Jose Calderon is gone he has taken over the offense and recorded a double-double in the game last Tuesday. The Wizards will need to keep Lowry in check to slow down the Raptors attack on offense.
In this clip, Wall seals the deal vs Denver.
In the clip below, Wall throws the lob.