Well, it’s official. If you were tired of the moral victories to begin the season, be weary, because a lot more are about to come. This is regardless of the Toronto Raptors winning any game from here on in. Tonight the Raptors play the Washington Wizards who have beat the Raptors the last two times they’ve played each other. The Wizards also sit one spot ahead of the Raptors in the standings, and are NOT mathematically eliminated…yet.
The Cage’s 5 Key’s to the game
1. Contain John Wall
In his last 5 games, John Wall has been averaging 29 points and 8 assists. Since his return he’s been focused on proving that he’s worth a max contract. Kyle Lowry and friends need to contain his penetration in order to walk away with a victory tonight.
2. Stop Settling
Late game shot selection seems to be the problem when it comes to closing out games for the Raptors. So the onus is on Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan to attack the rim instead of hoisting long jumpers all night.
3. Be Active
The Raptors bigs of Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas are thin, but they have arguably the most heart of anyone in the league (I’m a doctor, I should know). The key for them tonight is to simply roll hard to the net, and crash the glass. Knowing your role on a team can come a long way.
4. Loose Leash
With absolutely nothing but an imaginary draft pick to play for, the Raptors should be going deep into their bench tonight. If Dwane Casey wants to develop pieces of the core heading into next year, the mistakes made by the likes of Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy should be swept under the rug.
The Raptors have lost two straight games to the Wizards. The franchise series between the two teams is tied 33-33. With this being the final matchup of the season, the Raptors need to save face and not walk out of this game with another L to the Wizards.
X-Factor: Kyle Lowry
Tonight’s X-Factor is Raptors guard Kyle Lowry. With the important task of guarding John Wall, Lowry will be relied on heavily. More importantly, Lowry’s style of play is perfect for attacking the defence of Wall and making him work on both end of the court. For this team to work, Lowry needs to step it up and be the leader on the floor.
SEO Title: Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards: Game Day Preview