With the break over, two teams who shouldn’t be suffering from All-Star hangovers will tangle Tuesday night in Washington. In one corner, we have the winners of four straight and featuring the newly-crowned king of the NBA dunk contest: the Toronto Raptors (21-32), in the other, the surprisingly frisky Washington Wizards (15-36), winners of four of their last five, though they did drop their final pre-All Star break game against Jose and the Pistons. Long story short, we have two of the NBA’s hottest teams matching up tonight, however unlikely and insane that sentence sounds.

The Wizards’ recent streak, which included wins over the Clippers, Nets, Knicks, and Bucks, was largely due to a long-overdue improvement on the offensive side of the ball. The Wiz are still last in the league in points per game, but dropping over 100 points on the Knicks and notoriously stingy Bucks is nothing to sneeze at, and the Raptors will have to be careful to avoid turning this game into a shootout. The key matchups are Lowry vs. Wall and Amir vs. Nene, though the Wiz are woefully thin at the wing and there should be a plethora of opportunities for both Gay and DeMar to get theirs.
In any case, it’s the first game out of the All Star break, and the Raptors have one of the league’s worst teams on the sked, which is about all you could ask for to begin the playoff push, if that’s what you’re into. Let’s go to the tale of the tape:

Tale of the Tape
O-Rating: Toronto 107.3 (11th), Wizards 98.27 (30th)
D-Rating: Toronto 108.4 (24th), Wizards 102.6 (5th)
Pace: Toronto 92.4 (24th), Wizards 94.3 (14th)
Strength: Toronto ball control (2nd), Wizards defence (again, 5th)
Weakness: Toronto Freebies (30th in Opp FTA/FGA), Wizards offense (simple, I know – but they’re last in the league)

Positional Breakdown
Point Guards: Kyle Lowry and John Lucas v. John Wall and AJ Price
One of the few times where the Raptors will have the advantage at the backup point guard spot given Lucas’ recent string of hot play. John Wall is an excellent player and has more upside than Lowry, but Kyle’s veteran savvy and tenacious defence should be enough to at least counteract the former number 1 overall pick. There’s a very good chance that Wall and Lowry could trade highlights back and forth for a good chunk of this game, if Lowry’s interested in playing streetball.

Wings: Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Alan Anderson and Terrence “The Champ is Here” Ross v. Brad Beal, Garrett Temple, Martell Webster, and Trevor Ariza
The Wizards’ wing rotation is littered with hot-and-cold scorers (Beal, Temple, Crawford) and tough defenders (Webster, Ariza), but, on paper, Gay and DD are clearly the two most talented players on this list. Hopefully the weekend off did Rudy well, as the Raps will likely need him to carry the scoring load, rather than expect another huge night from Alan Anderson.

Bigs: Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, Andrea Bargnani (*edit – apologies for missing him earlier), Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy v. Emeka Okafor, Nene, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely, and Cartier Martin
Nene and Okafor should be stingy on the defensive end, so I’d imagine the bulk of the Raptors’ scoring will come from outside tonight. There isn’t really anyone on the Wizards I’d imagine to have big scoring games in the block – Nene and Okafor are both solid low-post players, but the Raptors have typically done a good job defending players like that this season, and their weakness (floor-stretching big men) are in short supply here. I’d imagine the Wizards’ advantages will be in more of the “neutralizing” department.

The Picks

Vegas: Wizards -3.5
Hollinger: Wizards -3 (thanks Blake)
Garrett: Vegas favours the Wizards, who have been hot lately, but the Raptors’ wing rotation should prove to be too much for this young squad (imagine saying that a few months ago). I can’t wait for the Lowry vs. Wall battle, but I think the Raptors win by 5. Streaking: up through the quad and right into a five game winning streak.

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  • Lino Dinardo

    This is a nail biter.. trap game.. going into the all star break on a streak hoping to continue that.. we’ve been there before. only to stink it up after the break…lets brings it guys!

  • NyAlesund

    Won’t Bargs  play tonight?

  • BlakeMurphy

    Hollinger actually favours Wiz by 3, just FYI for you gamblers out there.

  • Robert

    Ease up with the “faggot” nonsense. Unless you’re 12 or actually suffering from a mental illness you sound like an idiot. If its the former grow up, if the latter I hope you receive competent treatment soon.

    • Guest

      You’re going to find yourself in the minority here.  The RR poster-base is extremely bigoted, if you haven’t noticed by now.

    • MorganC


  • RapthoseLeafs

    [” Bigs: Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy “]

    On purpose?

    From my perspective …. I’m a fan of every player that plays for this team, until they’re not. It’s disappointing that the Raptor blog sites – in giving real attention to basketball in Canada – truly can’t finish the job, and aspire to be better then the main stream media

    As to the pooka imitator, you should follow Wolowitz’s example and finally move out of your Mom’s house.


    • falseprofit

      Get over it. The guy is a mediocre stain on this team. He’s the last remnant of a vision for the Raptors that very few people are unhappy to have parted with. The media may be sensationalizing and excessively criticizing every aspect of the Barg trade saga (what a surprise), but it’s completely warranted. The guy is an OK player who can’t defend and doesn’t fit with the make-up of this current Raptors team. I support the Raps and I obviously want him to do well when he’s playing, but he’s had several seasons and a massive contract incentive  to step up and he hasn’t. So I say good riddance Andrea!

      • falseprofit

        I also respect RapsRepublic for having the cajones to keep it real when it comes assessing player performances and not holding back on players criticisms when it’s warranted.

      • RapthoseLeafs

        [” Get over it. The guy is a mediocre stain on this team. “]

        You missed the point. He’s a part of this team, until he’s not part of this team. It’s bush league to let bias affect reporting.

        That’s my point.


  • Attn: Pooka

    Attn: Pooka. You are an idiot. And remember the time Barkley remarked that “of course there are gay NBA players; you’d be a fool to not realize that.” And also made clear he could care less? And Barkley is black in a black man’s game (to use your term). And thus it stands to reason you are not only referring to Bargs as a “faggot” you are conceivably referring to say Westbrook or Durant or T-Ross etc and whoever as a “faggot” also. Go to a hockey forum, lots of bigots there.

    • RapthoseLeafs

      Robert …. ignore the “imitation” model.


      On that note, can the Moderator not delete posts like the pOOka wannabe.


  • ckh26

    I think the “gotstogo” guy has a new post name POOKA. The style of ranting and venting  is similar to the rambling tirades of the gots to go person.