Battle of the backcourts: Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards


The Raptors are in Washington to face their playoff nemesis. Which team will take the first meeting of the season?

It seems like an eternity ago where we were arguing top backcourts in the NBA when in actuality it was just only a year ago. It turns out the Golden State Warriors ran away with the competition, which makes everyone else pretty much moot.

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The Toronto Raptors tandem of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan lead a balanced team while the Washington Wizards duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal are doing their best to pick it up.

Bradley Beal was experiencing the beginning of a break-out season before he had a shoulder injury. He has played in 3 games since his return and he has been on and off since. I personally think he will become a headlining shooting guard sooner than later as he is becoming an efficient wing.

On the other hand, John Wall  has slowed in the early campaign and has experienced assist and scoring decreases. He is averaging 4.5 turnovers a game this season, which is even high for his standards. These two backcourt buds won’t be held in check all season so watch out!

Apr 26, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) dribbles the ball as Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) defends in the third quarter in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 125-94, and won the series 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If you are experiencing any bad blood from the Wizards sweep last year in the playoffs, it is useless. Public enemy #1, Paul Pierce, has fled to Los Angeles and the Raptors have reloaded their soft roster.

Some important team statistics to date

Raptors Season ranks: Off Eff 103.8 (6th), Def Eff 100.1 (9th) Ast ratio 14.3 (T-27th) Reb rate 52.6 (5th)

Wizards season ranks: Off Eff 101.2 (T-15th), Def Eff 103.9 (22nd) Ast ratio 17 (8th) True-shooting% 54.4 (8th)

Three keys to victory

Stop the three

The Wizards are trying their hand at a pace and space offence, which is why they have Kris Humphries hoisting 3.3 threes a game while Nene comes off the bench. Although this team is a poor man’s Warriors team, three point defence will be important to limit this long-range happy club.

Attack the paint

The Washington defence is anchored down by Marcin Gortat, while being a strong rebounder and finisher around the rim, he also gives a boost inside for the Wizards. Opponents at the rim shoot 8.7% worse than league average when he covers the rim. It will be up to the guards try and get him into foul trouble and the put the pressure on him to defend throughout the game.

Kyle Lowry’s all star play

Lowry has been a beast the last few games and has been the engine to this train. He is shooting above 41% from the floor, but account for his 40% three point shooting and he is shooting a fantastic 58.4% true shooting percentage. He has had great success closing games comared to wing-mate DeMar DeRozan and should be handed the keys for all fourth quarters from here on in. Did I mention he is leading the league in steals?

Oct 23, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll (5) moves the ball against Washington Wizzards forward Otto Porter (22) during the second half at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Key players of the game

WAS: Otto Porter; this man gave the Raps fits in the playoffs last year. He is benefiting from more playing time this season and his game has improved. Watch his defence.

TOR: Terrence Ross; since returning from injury, he has made some threes while playing solid defence. He tends to disappear in the second half and Dwane Casey can’t rely on him just yet, but when he plays well, Toronto plays well.


You know what the bulletin board in the Raptors’ locker room is going to be about. Revenge will be attained by the visiting Raps.

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