I was starting to get cranky, but the All-Star break is finally over, and Toronto Raptors basketball IS BACK! Tonight, the Raps will play in the USA’s capital against the Washington Wizards.
The Raptors (28-24) will face the 6th place Wizards (25-27). This will be yet another important game as the Raps look to pad their place as the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. Considering the Raptors’ schedule is relatively easy from here, the tougher games like this one really holds significant.
The backcourt match-up highlights this one, with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan going up against John Wall and Bradley Beal. DD and Wall were both teammates at the ASG on Sunday night, however I wouldn’t expect the same friendliness tonight.
Some analysts predict a second-half surge for the Wizards, as their schedule gets considerably easier as well. Thus, if it comes to the Raps and Wiz being the 3rd and 4th seed, this is as significant as it gets.
Amir Johnson will play tonight.
Cage’s Keys To The Game
Oil The Machine Before The Rust
This season, the Raps have a tendency to come out rusty after a long break. Dwane Casey has to ensure the team is ready to play before the game starts and come out strong.
Marcin Gortat and Nene are both pretty crafty scorers. Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson will have to be at their best tonight. We have to hope that particularly Amir will be back to his old self.
Spread The Floor
The Wizards D is the most effective typically when they are in a zone defense. With a strong interior presence, reverting to a zone will take away a lot of the Raps’ inside game. Hit your outside shots to ensure they play you man to man, and take advantage of it when they do.
X-Factor- Kyle Lowry
Lowry is going to have his hands full and a chip on his shoulder tonight. The All-Star John Wall will go toe to toe against the All-Star snub Lowry. Also, Lowry is subject to trade rumors once again – something he certainly responded well to last time around. Let’s see what happens tonight.