The Wizards travel to Canada to take on the Raptors.
Air Canada Centre | 6:00 p.m. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards (4-4): G – Frazier, G – Beal, F – Porter Jr., F – Morris, C – Gortat
Raptors (5-3): G – Lowry, G – DeRozan, F – Powell, F – Ibaka, C – Valenciunas
Wizards: John Wall (Shoulder – Out), Tim Frazier (Wrist – Available), Sheldon Mac (Achilles – Out)
Raptors: C.J. Miles (Illness – Questionable)
John Wall injured his left shoulder trying to split a screen in Friday night’s game against the Cavs and will not play tonight with a sprained left shoulder. He played through the injury on Friday, but left the arena in a sling.
Tim Frazier will start in his place, but has a wrist injury of his own he’s dealing with. The Wiz will likely use Tomas Satoransky at the PG spot and could use Bradley Beal in more of a playmaking role, as they’ll be thin at the guard position. Beal has been on a tear, averaging 38 points per game this week, so we’ll see how the guard situation impacts him as a scorer.
Kelly Oubre Jr., who scored a career-high 21 points on Friday, also has the versatility to slide down and play a guard spot, as he can defend either guard position and has shot the ball well enough to play the two.
Raptors Back from West Coast
Tonight’s game will be the Raptors first home game in about two weeks, as they just returned from their longest road trip of the season. They went 3-3 on their six game road trip with wins in Utah, Portland, and L.A. (Lakers).
Besides their early season schedules looking alike, there are many other parallels between these two teams as they get set for their first meeting of 2017-18. Similar to the Wizards, the Raps returned much of their roster from a year ago, and locked up their star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan long term. They have been a playoff team for the last few years, but are trying to take the next step and find a way to get past LeBron James and the Cavs.
The Raps have had their way with the Wizards in the regular season over these last four years, going 12-2, with Washington’s only two wins coming in Toronto. The Wiz did handle the Raps fairly easily in their last meeting in Toronto last March, 105-96, in a game the score didn’t indicate how one-sided the game was.
Locking Down on Defense
The Wizards insist on being a defense first team, but they are coming off two straight home losses in which they gave up over 120 points in both. The Suns scored 122 on them on Wednesday and the Cavs, behind 57 from LeBron James, dropped 130 on them on Friday. The Wiz rank 25th in the NBA allowing just under 111 points per game. While they haven’t had trouble scoring this season (113.5 ppg), the defense has not yet been where the team knows they need it to be, so they’ll look to try and flip this trend tonight and shut down a talented Raptors squad.
After tonight, the Wizards return home for a four-game homestand beginning on Tuesday night with the Mavs. (7 p.m.)