Wizards basketball is finally back tonight after a successful NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans. They’ll take on the third seeded Toronto Raptors at the Verizon Center–which would be the preview of a playoff series if the post-season were to start today. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.
Key Match Up:
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan probably make up the most underrated back court in the league, as they’ve unexpectedly led the Raptors to the third spot in the conference this season. Lowry should’ve been an All-Star this season, but was snubbed for Joe Johnson, while DeRozan received the honor instead. DeRozan is averaging over 22 points, nearly 5 rebounds and 4 assists this season, and has blossomed since the Raptors traded Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings. Lowry has also stepped up since the trade, putting up nearly 17 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds per game. Both players’ games have meshed well, since Lowry is capable of scoring from the outside, while DeRozan has added a mid-range jumper to his arsenal.
John Wall and Bradley Beal both agreed that they need to play better on a consistent basis for the Wizards to finally get over the hump in their final 30 games. Even though they’ve been good together this season, the Lowry-DeRozan duo will certainly give them some problems. Wall and Beal have to be more aggressive offensively, especially against the Raptors who are capable of scoring in transition. Both players have settled for jump shots over the past few games, and the Wizards have fallen back under .500. Needless to say, I think we’re in for an exciting match up.
- The Wizards have lost 4 of their last 5 games and got blown out by the Raptors the last time they played against each other.
- Toronto isn’t particularly great at anything from an offensive standpoint, but they do have the sixth highest defensive rating in the league.
- Amir Johnson suffered an ankle injury recently, but he’ll likely return against the Wizards tonight.
Washington has to find a way to get better at home, and I think they’ll come in focused tonight, given that it’s their first game back from the All-Star break. John Wall and Bradley Beal have both talked about having to play with more consistency, and there’s no better way to start that off than tonight against the Raptors.
The Wizards have to show that they’re capable of competing against Toronto, especially since they might meet in the first round of the playoffs. The Raptors have already beaten the Wizards twice this season, so the Wizards have to come prepared tonight.
The Wall-Beal and Lowry-DeRozan match up should definitely bring some excitement, but the outcome of the game might be determined by the front courts. Nene and Marcin Gortat have been outplayed by Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas in the past, and that can’t be the case tonight. They have to do a better job of grabbing rebounds, and they can’t allow the Raptors to get second chance looks tonight.
With all that said, I think the Wizards will get the ‘W’ tonight. They’re due for a victory, and John Wall and Co. will come ready to play.