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Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards Matchup: Time to Create Play-In Separation

Bradley Beal has made life miserable for the Raptors many times. Can they hold him in check as these two teams fight for play-in positioning?

Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

It’s the matchup we’ve been waiting five months for! Well, not really — no one really wants to watch the Washington Wizards — but it is kinda weird that we’re 63 games into the season and the Toronto Raptors have yet to play the former Bullets! The teams haven’t played against each other since January of 2022!!

It’s a quirk of the schedule that after 13.5 months, these two teams will play three times this month (including again on Saturday), but given where the teams are in the standings, these games actually matter. You know, if making the play-in matters to you...

The Raptors are currently 9th place in the East, with the Wizards sitting just two wins back (both teams have 32 losses) in 10th place. The Bulls, meanwhile, are just two games back in 11th, although the Raptors do own the tiebreaker.

So yes — if the Raptors want to make a postseason run (and obviously they do!) these games are critical. The fact that tonight is the first of five straight on the road, including the Lakers-Clippers combo next week, makes taking care of business tonight and starting the trip off on the right foot even more important.

Lineup-wise, the only rotation player missing from either side tonight is Washington’s Monte Morris, who’s dealing with back spasms. Will Barton faces his old team (from, uh, four days ago) and might have some intel to share; Delon Wright also faces his old team (from four years ago!) and his old college teammate, Jakob Poeltl.

While the Wizards certainly look like the lesser team on paper, you can never count out a team with Bradley Beal, who’s averaging 25 ppg on 46/41/84 shooting, in 28 career games against the Raptors.

Can the Raps keep Beal in check and solidify their play-in positioning? Let’s watch!

Where to watch:

Sportsnet, 7:00 PM ET

Starting Lineups:

Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl

Washington Wizards — Delon Wright, Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis, Daniel Gafford


Toronto Raptors — Otto Porter Jr. (foot – out)

Washington Wizards — Vernon Carey Jr. (NWT – out), Monte Morris (back – out)