The Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors played each other less than a week ago. Washington dominated. Is there any reason to think tonight's game will be any different?
Well, maybe. Based strictly on anecdotal evidence, the team on the wrong side of a blowout tends to bring their A-game in the re-match. While Washington is better than Toronto, they're not so much better than the Raptors that they're going to beat them by almost 20 points every time they meet. Sure, John Wall's crazy good and the gang's more or less back together again, but that's not enough to guarantee a win over a reasonably talented Toronto team that's playing for pride.
Where and when? Tip off is at 7 p.m. in Toronto.
Are they good? Nope. Toronto has won one fewer game than the Wizards and, while they've had their share of injuries, they really have no reason to expect to be much better next year than they were in 2013. Rudy Gay's good, but he's not that good.
What happened the last time they played the Wizards? Bradley Beal's hot hand powered Washington to a 109-92 victory.
Who's out? Landry Fields is day-to-day for Toronto, while Beal and Nene are day-to-day for Washington. Andrea Bargnani is the only player of importance for either team who's out for the season.
Why should I care? John Wall is reaching his potential and it's a lot of fun to watch.
What are they good at? They can put points up, although it's with middling efficiency. The Raptors are 15th in the NBA in offensive rating based largely on the strength of Demar Derozan and Gay's ability to create shots while playing off of Kyle Lowry and, before the Gay trade, Jose Calderon. The downside to all of the mid-range jumpers from Derozan and Gay is that, even though they can get those shots off any time they like, they're not very efficient.
What are they bad at? Playing defense. The team is 23rd in the NBA in defensive rating, last in free throw attempts surrendered per field goal attempt and don't take care of the defensive glass. In a related story, Toronto's primary bigs are young (Valanciunas) or physically weak (Amir Johnson, Bargnani). The Raptors' management isn't exactly the best, but if the team is ever going to go anywhere with a core of Lowry, Gay and Valanciunas, they're going to need to trade some of their youngsters for a veteran big man who can bang and control the glass on both ends of the court.
Where else can I read about the Raptors? Check out Raptors HQ.
What are your predictions for tonight's game? Sound off below and don't forget to vote in our poll.