Last time the Raptors went to Washington I made my preview about the “art” of beating terrible teams. Of course, the Wizards ending up making me eat my words, beating the Raptors and putting the final nail in the coffin that was my Raptors playoff pipe dreams.
The Wizards are still terrible, firing Flip Saunders recently and having team cancers like Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee and Rashard Lewis on a young, inexperienced team usually leads to the 4-20 record the Wizards come into tonight with. However, the Raptors are once again heading into the US’ capital on the tail end of a back to back, giving the Wizards yet another chance to steal a win over the Raps.
Yesterday afternoon the Raptors put on an impressive performance against the Miami Heat, coming back from a 15 point deficit to lose 95-89 in what was an impressive showing that once again proved the Raptors mettle. But close losses to elite teams does not improve the winning percentage, despite how much hope it gives in the rebuilding process. A win tonight is important in showing the Raptors can play night in and night out, and not just when they have the added motivation of playing the NBA’s best.
DeMar DeRozan had an impressive performance against the Heat yesterday, scoring a team high 25 points and showing he still has the promise he displayed last season. If the Raptors are going to win without Andrea Bargnani, they will need more twenty point outings from DeRozan.
Toronto relied on a solid bench performance in their win against the Wizards at home Friday night, expect the bench to be a key factor once again especially on the tail end of this post Super Bowl Weekend back to back.
Andrea Bargnani is still out indefinitely with a calf injury, Linas Klezia and Leandro Barbosa are also both day-to-day with various injuries, but should be expected to keep playing.
Tonight’s game tips-off at 7:00 PM EST.