First, last night:
Highest plus/minus: Antawn Jamison (+13).
Lowest plus/minus: DeShawn Stevenson (-7).
There are certain things I've come to expect from Raptors/Wizards games. One, the Wizards will dominate on the glass, especially when Chris Bosh isn't playing. Two, the Raptors will launch a lot of threes. And three, the Raptors will find some random way of keeping things close, whether it's by hitting the threes (which I suppose isn't random) or doing something else (hitting ridiculous buzzer beaters, forcing a low-turnover team to cough it up, etc). This game featured all of that, and we came away victorious. As expected, Antawn Jamison feasted on their front line, though 25 points in 22 shots isn't particularly efficient.
But what continues to be a revelation is the play of the guys off the bench. Even without Bosh, Toronto is a very deep team, but guys like Mason, Blatche, and Young were the biggest reasons why the Wizards came away with the win. Blatche was rebounding, scoring, and most importantly, hitting big free throws. Young was gunning, but he was also playing very good defense, and I can't fault him for missing that shot at the buzzer. Meanwhile, Mason was a revelation, hitting his shot and playing with a lot of spunk when DeShawn Stevenson was doing anything but that.
Earlier in the year, our bench was our biggest weakness, but by necessity, Eddie Jordan has been forced to rely on those guys in key moments. I think it's starting to pay off now, and if we can somehow get all our players back healthy, it'll pay off down the road.
The only slightly concerning signs are Jamison's back (as referenced in the WI post), Brendan Haywood playing only 21 minutes, and the struggles of our starting backcourt (AD and Stevenson). I'm not worried about Haywood, because he struggles to match up against Toronto, but I wish AD and Stevenson would pick their play up. Since the first Hornets game, DeShawn has really struggled. That cannot happen to this team going forward.
So now, here's your game thread. The Wizards are 3-0 against Charlotte this year, but the Bobcats have won three in a row, not to mention that this is the second game of a back-to-back for the Wizards, and it was snowing in T-Dot yesterday. Hopefully the rest to Haywood kept him fresh, because the Wizards will need him tonight against Emeka Okafor.
Lines are Wizards by 6 and 198 on the over/under.