Preview: Toronto At Washington
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, January 8, 2016
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia
Washington and Toronto had the first two meetings decided by a total of five points, with the Raptors coming out on top in each. The slumping Wizards will try to get a little revenge and pull even on their four-game homestand when they host Toronto in the finale on Friday.
Cory Joseph buried a last-second 3-pointer to lift the Raptors in an 84-82 win at Washington on Nov. 28, and DeMar DeRozan poured in 34 points to guide Toronto to a 97-91 home win over the Wizards on Dec. 30. That most recent setback was one of four in the last five games for Washington, which endured problems on both ends of the court. The Wizards began the homestand with a win over the Orlando Magic to open the new year but then shot 34.1 percent from the floor in a loss to Miami and bounced back on the offensive end only to see the defense suffer in Wednesday’s 121-115 loss to Cleveland. Toronto surrendered an average of 118.5 points in back-to-back losses before locking down on the defensive end in a 91-74 win at Brooklyn on Wednesday.
TV: 7p.m. ET, SportsNet One (Toronto), CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington)
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (22-15): Toronto learned on Wednesday that small forward DeMarre Carroll, who had served as the team’s best perimeter defender, would miss up to two months after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Carroll sat out a 122-100 loss to Cleveland on Monday, and the Raptors were still getting used to having center Jonas Valanciunas back from a broken hand after Bismack Biyombo had provided a strong defensive presence in the middle in his absence. Everything came together on Wednesday, when Valanciunas went for 22 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks while Toronto held Brooklyn to 39.7 percent from the field.
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (15-18): Washington is slowly getting some of its injured players back and shot 55.3 percent from the field in Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland. Nene (calf) missed over a month but returned on Wednesday and went 3-of-4 from the field in 12 minutes off the bench while Gary Neal (quad) came back from five games off and went 5-of-8 en route to 13 points in 21 minutes. The Wizards are still waiting on Bradley Beal (leg), Drew Gooden (calf) and Kris Humphries (knee) to come back to the rotation.
1. Wizards PG John Wall went 4-of-4 from 3-point range on Wednesday after hitting 1-of-15 from beyond the arc in the previous three contests.
2. Biyombo is averaging 17 minutes off the bench in the last three games.
3. Toronto PG Kyle Lowry was held to 11 points on 2-of-12 shooting in the last meeting.
PREDICTION: Raptors 101, Wizards 97