Game Preview: Wizards vs. Raptors
By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards head back to Toronto to wrap up their season series with the Raptors tonight at Air Canada Centre (7:00pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Wizards lead the season series, 2-1.
The Wizards saw these same Raptors on Sunday night at Verizon Center, where they dismantled them 109-92 behind Bradley Beal's 24 points off the bench. At the time, the Wizards entered that game one game behind Toronto in the standings, but tonight head to Toronto one game ahead. The Raptors returned home on Monday night and lost to the Pistons, while the Wizards knocked off the Bulls on Tuesday night to catapult them ahead of Toronto in the Eastern Conference. The Wiz now sit alone in 10th place, just 2.5 games behind Philadelphia for 9th place. For a team that began the season 4-28, that's quite an accomplishment.
Last night's win over Chicago marked the eighth home win in a row for the Wizards, but they have struggled playing away from home. They enter tonight's game with a road record of 7-29 which is tied for the second worst road record in the league. They have a chance to improve on that record against a Raptors team that has really struggled of late, losing eight of their last nine games.
This was a team that won five games in a row in February, including wins in New York and in Washington. They are still capable and the Wizards will need to bring their A game to get a road win north of the border. On Sunday night, the Wizards held Rudy Gay, Toronto's leading scorer, to just 11 points and held the team to just 16 points in the fourth quarter. A similar defensive effort will be needed again tonight as the Raptors will certainly be seeking revenge.
Besides Gay, DeMar DeDerozan is another weapon the Raptors possess and the Wizards have seen this first hand. In the first two games against Washington, DeRozan averaged 24.5 points per game on 18/35 shooting from the floor. However, the Wizards held him to just 15 points on 6/18 shooting on Sunday night. He likes to play both above the rim and from the perimeter, though he shoots just 25% from three-point range. He will usually get off his shots one way or another, so the Wizards will want to force him into tough shots.
One of the Wizards seven road wins was in Toronto, as they beat the Raptors 90-84 back on February 25th. They got 20 points from Bradley Beal in that contest as well, but may be without the high-profiled rookie tonight as he aggravated his ankle last night and will be questionable to play tonight. If he can't go, look for John Wall to step up and carry the load like he did last night to try and give the Wizards their third straight win.
The action kicks off at 7:00pm
John Wall continues to dazzle as he had another outstanding game last night in the Wizards 90-86 win over the Bulls. He finished with 27 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, and three blocks as he started April just as he finished March. On fire. Wall gets another crack at Toronto tonight, where he went for 18p/10a on Sunday, to try and give the Wizards the season series.
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 in Toronto. He had 15 points and 7 assists in the last Wizards-Raptors meeting and the Wizards will need to keep Lowry in check to slow down the Raptors attack on offense.
John Wall finds Trevor Ariza with the lob in Sunday's #WizRaptors game:
In the clip below, Wall scores 47 points: