Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards
Records: Raptors (32-12), Wizards (18-25)
Where to Watch
Date: Sunday, Jan. 13
Time: 11:30 PM IST
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
The Toronto Raptors seek their fifth straight win on Sunday as they travel to take on the Washington Wizards, who have won five of their last seven games.
Much has changed since the last meeting between the two teams on Nov. 23, as the Wizards have made a big transaction and dealt with a number of injuries. Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers both played significant minutes in the late November meeting but have since been traded in exchange for Trevor Ariza. All-Star guard John Wall has undergone season-ending heel surgery and Marcus Morris, who played nearly 30 minutes in the loss, is out with a neck issue.
Throughout the shuffle, All-Star guard Bradley Beal has been a constant for the Wizards - over the past seven games, Beal is averaging 27.9 points, 5.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 47.0 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point range.
Washington's recent burst has brought them within two games of Charlotte for the East's eighth seed with plenty of basketball to play. The team boasts the league's ninth-best offensive rating since Dec. 29 and is averaging 117.1 points per game on 48.0 percent shooting from the field and 38.5 percent shooting from deep.
Guard Tomas Satoransky has been tabbed to fill in for John Wall and is averaging 12.3 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds over this recent stretch. In the Wizards' win over the Milwaukee Bucks Friday, the 27-year-old recorded the first triple-double of his career with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in 35 minutes of action.
Backcourt play will be a major key for the Wizards, who look to take down one of the East's top teams for the second consecutive night.
Toronto has dealt with a number of injuries itself, but are gradually inching back to full strength. In their win over the Brooklyn Nets Friday, the Raptors used the starting lineup of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka for the first time since Dec. 9.
All signs indicate that the team will again roll out the same starters Sunday.
Kawhi Leonard, who has played in three of the Raptors' last four wins, is averaging 25.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.5 steals during the recent streak. The 2014 Finals MVP is also shooting a red-hot 55.6 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range. To take it a step further, Leonard has scored 20 or more points in 18 straight games, five shy of a Raptors franchise record.
In addition to Leonard's scoring during the streak, Toronto has benefitted from the offence of Pascal Siakam (17.8 ppg), Serge Ibaka (17.5), Fred VanVleet (13.0 ppg, 6.5 apg) and Kyle Lowry, who is averaging 10.7 points and 7.3 assists over the past three games.
Arguably more impressive than the recent output of the starters is the Raptors reserves response to putting forth a disappointing effort in the team's win over the Bucks on Saturday, Jan. 5. In the past three games - wins over Indiana, Atlanta and Brooklyn - Toronto's bench is averaging 44.7 points while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 42.9 from deep.
Depth has proven to be an advantage for the Raptors as of late and the team's success should continue if the trend holds true.
• A win would give the Raptors their fifth season series win over the Wizards in the past six seasons. Toronto has won 16 of their last 20 regular season games against Washington.
• The Wizards have won four consecutive games at Capital One Arena. 13 of Washington's 18 wins this season have come at home.
• Kawhi Leonard has scored 20 or more points in 18 consecutive games. It is the fourth-longest such streak in Raptors franchise history. DeMar DeRozan scored 20 or more 20 consecutive times in the 2016-17 season and Vince Carter has two streaks of 23 games of 20 or more points. He most recently did it in the 2000-01 season.
• Fred VanVleet is listed as questionable with a left thigh contusion, CJ Miles is doubtful with right hip soreness and Jonas Valanciunas remains OUT with a dislocated left thumb.
• The Wizards will be without Dwight Howard (back), Markieff Morris (neck) and John Wall (left heel).
Last Time They Played
Date: Nov. 23, 2018
Score: Raptors 125, Wizards 107
Wizards: Bradley Beal - 20 points, six assists, four rebounds
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard - 27 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals