Game Preview: Raptors vs Wizards

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (32-12) @ Washington Wizards (18-25)

When: Sunday, January 13th, 1 P.M. ET

Where: Capital One Arena

 

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury Report: For the Raptors, Jonas Valanciunas is out with a dislocated left thumb. C.J. Miles is listed as doubtful with right hip soreness and Fred VanVleet is listed as questionable with a left thigh contusion. For the Wizards, Dwight Howard is out with a lumbar microdiscectomy procedure, John Wall is out following left heel surgery, and Markieff Morris is out with transient cervical neuropraxia.

- Looking for five straight: The Raptors are in Washington in search of their fifth straight victory after picking up a 122-105 win against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. After sweeping a three-game homestand, Sunday’s matinee will be the first of two games on the road for the Raptors. Following the meet up with the Wizards, the team will head to Boston to take on the Celtics on Wednesday in the first game of a back-to-back that will conclude at Scotiabank Arena against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

- Recent history: This is the third meeting between these teams this season, with the Raptors winning both of the previous games. Most recently, Toronto earned a 125-107 victory against the Wizards at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 23. Kawhi Leonard had a 27-point, 10-rebound double-double and Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby each scored 15 points in the win. Bradley Beal led the Wizards, scoring 20 points in the loss, while Otto Porter Jr. added 17 points. The Wizards enter Sunday's game having won two straight, including a 113-106 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in their most recent game. Beal led the Wizards in the win against the Bucks with 32 points, five rebounds and seven assists.

Extra Assists

- Bench mobbing: The Raptors reserves have been making their presence felt ever since a disappointing outing against the Milwaukee Bucks a week ago. In Toronto’s victory against the Nets, the bench mob scored 60 of Toronto’s 122 points, with OG Anunoby and Norman Powell each contributing 13 points, Delon Wright adding 12, and Fred VanVleet and Greg Monroe also scoring 10 points apiece. “They played with energy,” Kyle Lowry said of the bench. “They played aggressive, assertive, with confidence. That’s what we need from them.” Toronto had eight players reach double figures in the win.

- Get familiar: The Raptors announced the signing of Patrick McCaw on Thursday. The third-year guard comes to Toronto after 131 career games with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers where he averaged 3.9 points, 1.2 assists and 15.9 minutes. Prior to Toronto’s game against the Nets on Friday, McCaw met with the media to speak for the first time since becoming a member of the Raptors. Though he has had a whirlwind start to 2019, he’s eager to get started with Toronto. “The past couple weeks have just been all over the place,” McCaw said. “But it’s exciting because I know I’m back working. I know I’m back getting the opportunity that I feel I deserve.”

- Locking in: Despite dealing with various injuries and lineup shuffles in the first half of the season, the Raptors still own the best record in the league just past the halfway mark of the regular season. Now that a starting lineup and bench rotation has been mostly solidified, Fred VanVleet said the team is looking forward, with a focus on what needs to be improved.

“Listen, we went into this thing as a marathon,” VanVleet said. “Now we’re about halfway through and it’s time to ramp it up and get a little more urgent about things and I think we’re starting to see that now. We performed well the first half of the year and now we’re starting to turn our gears a little bit, shift them towards playoffs and keep building, but be a little more urgent with things we need to get better at.”

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