I've been putting off this preview all day because I hate thinking about Wizards-Raptors games. The Wizards like to talk about how they have the unselfish, cerebral, defensive-minded team that grinds out games and finds ways to win. The Raptors? They actually are that team. And every time the two squads have faced off, the Raptors have dominated.
Hopefully, things change tonight.
Where and when? 7 p.m., Air Canada Center, CSN+ because of the Caps game.
Are they good? Yes. Very much yes. The Raptors are now 32-25 and in third place in the Eastern Conference. They've won six of seven, though the competition hasn't been stout. They are one of only four teams to have both a top-10 offensive efficiency and a top-10 defensive efficiency, joining San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Houston. Seriously: the Raptors have a top-10 offense.
Who's out? No Nene, obviously. Also, no Kevin Seraphin again. Drew Gooden is available, though. Landry Fields has been out forever for the Raptors, but they are healthy otherwise.
What are they good at? Honestly, this is a pretty solid team all around. Two things jump out: their defensive physicality and the creativity of their bigs. Toronto can send many different looks defensively, and if you try to drive on them, they'll have tons of arms in the way. On the other end, Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson deserve more credit for their ability to make quick decisions when they catch the ball on pick and rolls. Patterson is a better shooter; Johnson is a better passer.
Also, DeMar DeRozan can score from anywhere and has become a much better passer. Oh, and Kyle Lowry's pretty good too.
What are they bad at? It's hard to find much. This is a very balanced team that's above average in pretty much every area without really being exceptional in one. But if DeRozan and Terrence Ross are having bad shooting games, it can be tough for them to generate offense.
Who's going to win? Given how the rest of this series has gone, I'm thinking Toronto wins comfortably. Hopefully I'm wrong.