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Game-Day Thread: Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards

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Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards
January 10, 2012
TSN - 7:00 PM EST

We're kicking this game-day thread off early today.

My piece on Bargs this morning was a bit of a one-topic only style version of our usual "Tip-In" post-game report, and I omitted to preview tonight's match.

So this game-day thread will be doubling as both as the Toronto Raptors are in Washington to take on the Wizards tonight. (And for the Wizards' side of the story regarding tonight's match, check out SB Nation's "Bullets Forever".)

The poor Wizards.

An 0 an 8 start to the season, a coach on the hot seat, and now even John Wall is losing his luster.

(And us Raptors' fans think we've got it tough.)

Things are not very pretty in DC, but that doesn't mean tonight's game should be a walk in the park. The team may not have elite talent, but guys like Nick Young have burned the Dinos before, and the Raptors' are coming off an energy-sapping win last night against Minnesota.

So to ensure the W, here are our three keys:

1) More Bargnani: After writing a fairly glowing review of his recent play this morning, I'm hoping Andrea backs me up tonight with another good game. To put it simply, he needs to. DeMar is still struggling, Leandro Barbosa is up and down, Jerryd Bayless is still hurt and...well...we're not even going to mention Rasual Butler or James Johnson. There's not a lot of offence on this team so Bargs needs to take control tonight and find a way to get the job done despite potential fatigue.

2) Attack the boards: Again, the club is likely tired after last night's match but here's hoping that they've got some gas left in the tank tonight. Especially for rebounding reasons. The Wizards are allowing a league-worst 48 rebounds per game from opponents so even if Toronto's legs aren't into their jump shots, they should be able to get some easy second-chance points, provided they can get on the offensive glass.

3) Defence, defence, defence: I'm not expecting a pretty game tonight. Between Toronto's plodding pace (second slowest in the league) and both teams' offensive woes (the Wizards are averaging a shade under 85 points a game, and shooting just under 40 per cent as a team) this one could be a bit of a molasses-encrusted brick-fest. So to get back to .500, the Raps are going to need to dig in again on D and get the win the dirty way.

GO RAPS!