Open Thread: Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards, Regular Season Game 18

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The Essentials:

Raptors (7-13) vs. Wizards (7-10)
7 p.m.
Verizon Center
TV: CSN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Raptors numbers this season

T25th in expected winning percentage (.325)
10th in pace (93.8 possessions per game)
4th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (112.4)
30th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (118.3)

Notable Raptors numbers last season

23rd in expected winning percentage (.403)
14th in pace (92 possessions per game)
22nd in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (107)
22nd in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (110)

Pre-game links

Raptors HQ, SB Nation's Toronto Raptors blog
Raptors Republic, Toronto Raptors blog
RaptorBlog
Doug Smith's Toronto Raptors blog (Toronto Star)
TSN's Court Surfing with several awesome Canadian writers
Court Surfing: Is Toronto's Ship Sinking?
Raptors Republic game preview
Raptors HQ game preview
GameDay Toronto

Tonight's Projected Starters
Raptors vs. Wizards
Jose Calderon
PG Gilbert Arenas
DeMar Derozan
SG Nick Young
Hedo Turkoglu
SF Caron Butler
Chris Bosh
PF Antawn Jamison
Andrea Bargnani
C Brendan Haywood

 

Since we last saw the Raptors on Tuesday, their defense has fallen to an even further low after surrendering 146 points in a loss to Atlanta.  Yuck.  They're all apparently sniping at each other too, per the second Court Reporters link above. 

So they're ripe for the picking.  But ... Raptors-Wizards games are always close, and this one should be too. 

The key to the game tonight?  Get to the basket.  Atlanta slashed their way to the hoop, and Toronto couldn't stop them.  They didn't settle for the open 17-footers - they attacked the rim.  They also got out and run.  The reason the Wizards didn't light up the scoreboard against Toronto last time is that they settled for jumpers too much.  Attack the rim, forget the calls.  Do it. 

Same goes for you, Caron Butler.  The Milwaukee game was a great start, now keep it up.  Don't shoot jumpers all night.  Because, see, that's what Toronto wants you to do.  You shoot a 17-footer that's slightly contested, you've allowed them to not work hard on defense.  The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that Toronto does not want to work hard on defense.  Don't let them get off easy.

Also, Brendan Haywood, tonight's a night to be ready.  Chris Bosh didn't forget what happened last game.  He's probably studied you extensively and has a new bag of tricks he'll use.  It's on you to adjust.

I'll be in Section 104 at the media table once again.  Should be a good one.  They always are when these two play.

GO WIZARDS!

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