Tonight is the Raptors’ last game before the all-star break, which is always a strange game to play because the players are more aware of their reckless effort (please stay calm, Kyle Lowry). The team, however, is in a unique situation because there is still a lot to figure out. Can Marc Gasol get acclimated? Can the new signings (Malcolm Miller, Chris Boucher, Jeremy Lin) find a role?
On the other side of the court, the Wizards are a different team post-deadline. Gone is Otto Porter and Markieff Morris, and in is Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis, and Wesley Johnson. The new additions are playing better than expected but the team still goes wherever Bradley Beal takes them, which surprisingly might be the playoffs, as they currently stand three games back of the eighth seed.
The Raptors are good, and do not have a set rotation. One would expect this game to be more of an experiment than usual for Nick Nurse. Does Lin play? Will we see Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol playing together? Who knows.
Here are your details for tonight’s game.
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:30pm EST
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
Washington – Chasson Randle, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green, Thomas Bryant
Toronto – Fred VanVleet (thumb — out), Jeremy Lin (waiver process — questionable)
Washington – John Wall (achilles — out), Dwight Howard (back — out), Troy Brown Jr. (ankle — out), Devin Robinson (hip — out), Tomas Satoransky (personal — day-to-day)
Raptors New Additions
The Raptors got the big fish on the buyout market — Jeremy Lin. Naturally, this is exciting because the roster is almost full — sitting at 13, currently — allowing fans to extrapolate to the playoffs. Out of any of the new signings, Lin will be the most impactful, especially with Fred VanVleet missing time. It takes 48 hours to clear waivers so Lin could theoretically play tonight!
The Raptors also signed old friend Malcolm Miller. Does steady defense and four field goal attempts per 36 minutes sound good? Miller slots in as the team’s new low maintenance wing — a right of passage on the Raptors that had previously been held by Patrick McCaw and Lorenzo Brown.
The Raptors recently converted Chris Boucher’s two-way contract to a standard NBA contract with a partial guarantee for next season. On the court he figures to be the third-string center, although his fit next to Marc Gasol would be intriguing. More so than any other signing, Boucher has the greatest potential to stick around next season and tap into more of his potential. His signing is yet another bet on the Raptors development staff.
Bradley Beal, a Raptors Killer
In the Raptors last meeting against the Wizards, the game went to double-overtime and Bradley Beal turned to flames, scoring 43 points and dishing 15 assists. Beal has always played the Raptors well and is having a career season. His minutes are up, his field goals are up, and he is posting career highs in steals, blocks, rebounds, and assists. His improved production comes on the heels of John Wall being sidelined due to injury. There is no question as to who is number one. It’s undoubtedly Beal and he is playing with a new ferocity.
The Raptors have bodies to throw at Beal. In their last matchup, Danny Green saw most of the time but tonight seems like a perfect opportunity for OG Anunoby to get some burn. He’s still searching for a role this season, so chasing around an elite perimeter player would represent a simpler version of his role on the team.
Wizards’ Trade Deadline
The Wizards were very active at the trade deadline, dealing away Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris in separate deals for a return of Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, and Wesley Johnson. These trades get Washington out of the luxury tax this season and offer financial flexibility moving forward. The return itself, however, has been good and bad. Portis has been effective, scoring 30, 10, and 24 points in his first three games with the Wizards.
But Parker (who has a $20 million team option this summer) and Wesley Johnson haven’t figured much into the NBA landscape the past few seasons. It will be interesting to see how the Wizards approach this summer as they have number of free agents to retain.
The Wizards tonight, though, aren’t going down without a fight. They’re 2-1 since the trade deadline. Bobby Portis is dropping 30 points. Jabari Parker put up a near triple-double. Weird stuff is happening in Washington, folks. And surprisingly they only sit three games out of the 8th seed. Detroit might get a run for their money.