WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 20: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Toronto Raptors on October 20, 2018 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards face Raptors before heading to London

Before heading to London for Thursday’s international matchup against the Knicks, the Wizards will host the Raptors on Sunday. With wins over the Thunder, Sixers, and Bucks in the past week, the Wizards have put together some impressive victories in January and have been playing much better as of late. Tomas Satoransky is coming off his first career triple-double, while the Wizards matched their franchise-high with 18 3-pointers against the Bucks. The Raptors have won four games in a row, and have reclaimed the number one seed in the East.

Game Info

Capital One Arena | 1:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM

Probable Starters

Wizards: G – Tomas Satoransky, G – Bradley Beal, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Jeff Green, C – Thomas Bryant

Raptors: G – Kyle Lowry, G – Danny Green, F – Kawhi Leonard, F – Pascal Siakam, C – Serge Ibaka

Injury Report

Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), John Wall (left heel soreness – out), Markieff Morris (transient cervical neuropraxia – out)

Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas (left thumb dislocation – out), Fred VanVleet (thigh – questionable), C.J. Miles (hip – doubtful)

Storylines

Beal leading Wizards during 5-3 stretch

The Wizards are now 4-2 in January, and have won five of their last eight games. Washington has won 10 of its last 12 home games, re-establishing a homecourt advantage like the team had in 2016-17. Bradley Beal has led the way for the Wizards, averaging 29.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game in January. Overall, he’s second among Eastern Conference guards in scoring at 24.4 points per game. Beal’s playmaking, leadership, and defense – he held his matchups to 3-of-16 shooting on Friday – have given the Wizards a strong push since the Wizards announced John Wall and Markieff Morris would miss significant time. Sunday is arguably the team’s biggest test of this stretch, hosting the East-leading Raptors the day the Wizards lead for London.

Raptors since Valanciunas injury

Since Jonas Valanciunas went down with a left thumb dislocation, the Raptors have gone 10-5. The team has dealt with some other injuries and rest nights here and there, but Toronto has unsurprisingly found ways to win despite not playing as well as head coach Nick Nurse would like. In the 15 games since the injury, the Raptors are only outscoring opponents by 0.2 points per 100 possessions. Toronto is only shooting 33.6% from deep, and the rebounding numbers are obviously down without the team’s dominant big man.

Still, the Raptors have one of the league’s best two-way players in Kawhi Leonard, an All-Star point guard in Kyle Lowry, a rim-protecting shooting big man in Serge Ibaka, versatile two-way players in Danny Green, OG Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet, and swiss-army knife and Most Improved Player candidate Pascal Siakam. Even if their numbers are down, the Raptors are still title contenders. Toronto is one of four teams in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Last one before London

In what is certainly a unique wrinkle to the schedule this season, Wizards will travel to London on Sunday night after the Raptors game. The Wizards and Knicks will represent the NBA abroad this regular season, which will be quite the experience for everybody involved. The game is on Thursday night in London at 8:00 P.M. local time, which will be 3:00 P.M. in D.C. Washington will have some time to adjust to a different time zone and only play one game between January 13 and 20. The Wizards have been home since Wednesday, and will not head back on the road again after London until January 25 in Orlando.

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