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Game Thread: Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards

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To a certain extent, tonight’s game decides the season for the Raptors. If they beat Washington, their play-in hopes stay alive. Let’s watch.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors are both trying to win and not. It’s clear their play-in hopes are dwindling, but also: they don’t seem too vexed about it. How do we know this? Setting aside some known and more serious injuries, the team seems content to give Kyle Lowry the night off again tonight. He’s been dealing with a foot issue, sure, but it didn’t seem to bother him when he was going nuclear against the Lakers last Sunday. In any case, if that’s to be Lowry’s final game of this cursed season, so be it.

The Wizards, meanwhile, have played themselves all the way back into it. Good for them, particularly after their brutal start to the season. While I must admit, I do enjoy clowning the Wizards, they have a star in Bradley Beal, whom they would like to keep happy, and they’re also riding the whirlwind with Russell Westbrook, who cannot be turned down or off. They’re dealing with some absences tonight — namely ascendant forward Rui Hachimura — but they look pretty secure with themselves right now too. I would not bet against them securing one of the two play-in spots in the East.

Speaking of Rui, we won’t get the Yuta vs. Hachimura all-Japanese showdown tonight, as Toronto’s forward will also miss this evening’s contest. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg for the Raptors, who are dressing just ten players tonight. The only question remaining is whether they’ll have enough legs to actually challenge the Wizards — or if they’ll finally, officially, go into that good night.

Here’s the full preview from JD from this morning, below are the updated details, and now: let’s watch.

Where to Watch:

Sportsnet at 7:30pm EST

Lineups:

Toronto – Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Stanley Johnson, Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch

Washington – Bradley Beal, Raul Neto, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Gill, Alex Len

Injuries:

Toronto – Kyle Lowry (rest – out), Chris Boucher (knee – out), Paul Watson (knee – out), OG Anunoby (calf – out), Yuta Watanabe (ankle – out), Aron Baynes (foot – out)

Washington – Deni Avdija (ankle – out), Thomas Bryant (knee – out), Rui Hachimura (illness, non-COVID – out), Chandler Hutchison (knee – questionable)