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Wizards head North to take on Raptors
The Wizards will head to Toronto to take on the Raptors on Friday night. After a practice day Wednesday and a travel day Thursday, the Wizards will look to build off their 24-point comeback win against the Clippers. This will be the Wizards’ first trip to Toronto this season; the Raptors eliminated the Wizards from the postseason last year. The Raptors (15-4) beat the Wizards (6-11) on October 20 in D.C. behind Kyle Lowry’s 28 points and 12 assists and without Kawhi Leonard. Friday's game is the first night of a road-home back-to-back for the Wizards, who will take on the Pelicans in D.C. on Saturday.
Scotiabank Arena | 7:30 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – John Wall, G – Bradley Beal, F – Kelly Oubre Jr., F – Otto Porter Jr., C – Thomas Bryant
Raptors: G – Kyle Lowry, G – Danny Green, F – Kawhi Leonard, F – Pascal Siakam, C – Jonas Valanciunas
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out)
Raptors: OG Anunoby (right wrist sprain – probable), C.J. Miles (right abductor strain – available), Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation – out)
Build off Tuesday’s comeback win
The Wizards’ success starts and ends with defense. After giving up 73 first half points to the Clippers on Tuesday, Washington held L.A. to 45 second half points. The Wizards, who trailed by 24 in the second quarter, forced 14 second half turnovers and made the Clippers take tough shots down the stretch. Washington’s offense also started flowing much better in the second half, led by John Wall and Bradley Beal’s big nights and Jeff Green, Keef Morris, and Tomas Satoransky’s contributions off the bench. Playing in Toronto, the Wizards will likely not have the luxury of coming back after trailing by so many points. To get the win, they will need to play 48 minutes of solid defense and share the ball on offense against the East’s top team.
Keys to victory
One category the Raptors struggle in are turnovers, ranking 22nd in the NBA in turnover ratio at 15.0%. The Wizards are fourth in the NBA in opponent turnover ratio (16.3%), but the Raptors aren’t far behind at 12th (15.0%). The Raptors out-rebounded the Wizards 52-37 last time these two teams met, which they cannot afford to do again, especially on the road. Lastly, the Wizards cannot settle for tough shots early in the shot clock against the Raptors. Toronto is 11-0 when holding opponents under 45.0% shooting this season.
Lineup changes and injury updates
Scott Brooks said on Wednesday that the Wizards are planning to continue to start Kelly Oubre Jr. at the 3 and sliding Otto Porter Jr. to the 4, meaning Keef Morris will be coming off the bench for the second straight game. With Dwight Howard out again, Thomas Bryant is expected to start in his place. Morris may not have started on Tuesday, but he still closed the game and played a huge role in the win.
Also of note, the Wizards assigned Troy Brown Jr. to the Capital City Go-Go on Friday. The Go-Go take on the Canton Charge Friday night in D.C.
For the Raptors, OG Anunoby and C.J. Miles are both expected to play after missing recent games. Anunoby is a solid two-way player who gave the Wizards fits in the playoffs, while Miles is an offensive explosion waiting to happen at any moment. Anunoby could start if the Raptors decide to match up with the smaller Wizards starting lineup, though Siakam has started 18 of 19 games this season for Toronto. Jonas Valanciunas goes in and out of starting based on the matchup, but either he or Serge Ibaka will start at the 5 for Toronto.