First up, best wishes to Andrew Thompson who is staring at a hospital ceiling after being in a car accident.  He’s OK.  He was slated to write this pre-game so I’m jumping in on short notice.


The Raptors are in Washington tonight which has historically made for some good nights.  Last time the teams met I was at the ACC and it was all about surviving John Wall, (box) who had 37 points in a rather electrifying game where his full-court pace was in full view.

The Raptors ended up limping their way to the win rather than authoritatively finishing it, but then again those were the Rudy Gay days and this is a different team.   The Raptors have won 9 of 12 and 6 of 7, and the Wizards carry a bit of a streak of their own.  They’ve won 5 of 7 with their last game being a loss in Dallas.  This matchup has ended up being a surprisingly “marquee” one as it’s pitting the 4th and 5th seeds in the East who are separated by just a half game (even in the loss column at 15).

I have John Wall and Martell Webster on my fantasy team so I tend to follow the Wizards a lot, and have a couple keys to stopping them:

Make them pay them for their over-aggressive defense which encourages switching

As per their SBNation blog,

This season, the Wizards have often resorted to switching in order to contain ballhandlers. The idea is for the defense to take advantage of its size and athleticism and to avoid help and recover situations where defenses are most vulnerable. Whether it be through pick and rolls or off-ball movement, players are switching assignments at a stunning rate. Alternatively, they are more aggressively trapping and switching assignments later to compensate for being in rotations.

While it’s often led to turnovers and disrupted the offense’s timing, it’s just as often proven to be a cheap way of avoiding fighting through screens. Ultimately, it leads to mismatches all over the floor.

‘Tis true, they switch on anything.  So if the Raptors see a perimeter matchup that they can exploit, they’ll get the switch they want.  In Beal, Webster, and Wall, the Wizards have good athleticism at the wings and they obviously feel that they can get away with doing so.  I’m fancying a DeRozan/Wall matchup in the post as something to target.

Limit John Wall’s FT attempts

He’s recognized that he’s not a great shooter at this point in his career and his looking to draw the foul on his drives, way more than he’s looking to shoot of late.  The strategy against Wall has been to go under the screens, and that still remains the case.  He’s also been tremendous in the last few games at end-to-end play where, after receiving the pass following the defensive rebound, he’s zipping through the center of the court trying to make something happen, so transition defense is key.

The PG matchup is quite excellent here and I’m hoping Kyle Lowry can really frustrate Wall with his defense enough to influence his offensive game.

Stick with Beal on screens

Last time the Raptors held Beal to 7-21 shooting, and that was a product of some open misses and some good defense.  We can’t take that chance again, and the Raptors have to cover him as the goes through various down and baseline screens to free himself up at the three-point line.  I’d test John Salmons on him so he can’t use his dribble/pull-up as easily as he can against DeRozan.

He’s most dangerous in transition these days where he’s looking to set-up early in the shot-clock, and tends to pull-up in transition if the defense is on its heels.  I would put Salmons on him so DeRozan can guard the less-demanding Webster, if only to preserve DeRozan for offense.

Hold interior position

With Nene and Gortat, the Wizards possess some brute strength which the Raptors will need to be able to handle.  If Jonas Valanciunas can have a repeat of his performance against Roy Hibbert, great.  If not, Amir will really need to bang with some size to keep them out of the paint and limit John Wall’s drives at the same time.  In the last matchup, Casey surprisingly didn’t play Aaron Gray so I’m guessing he should be fine without him today as well.

Make Patterson count

Patterson has a great chance to play the stretch-four proper today if matched up against their starters or if facing Jan Vesely. Patterson’s success from the mid-range area is a direct indicator of how well the team offense is functioning because if he’s getting good mid-range looks, it means there’s penetration and passing are happening.

That’s really all I got on short notice.  The gamblers have the Wiz laying two with an O/U of 197.  As it is Washington, this will be a tight one.

Get better Andrew!

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  • Adriiian

    lets go raps!!

  • Reginald V Slater

    C’mon Raps – win it for Andrew!

    I’m going to this game in DC wearing my Garbajosa shirt, should be a good one.

  • Nils L.

    Get well soon Andrew. Our thoughts are with you here at Raptors Republic.

    • DDayLewis

      Which motherfucker downvoted this?

      • raptorstand

        Tim w.

        • DDayLewis

          Naw, the RR team too tight to do that.

        • ac1011990

          Please stop your getting more annoying then Tim.

          • raptorstand

            tough crowd

  • A G

    Some nice pre-game insight given the short notice and liked what you had to say in the podcast. Hope to see more and help keep RR my favorite.

  • ahoang

    What do i bet?!

    • DDayLewis

      Don’t bet on NBA games. Just don’t. But if you had to bet, bet on the under. That’s way too high for these two teams.

  • morgan c

    Going to grab a last minute ticket on stubhub and try to sneak down from the 400s. I live in DC and the Wizards games are cheap and sparsely attended! Going solo so should be able to sneak down to the 100s!

  • raptorstand

    I have been pondering on the Dwayne Casey coaching improvement. I have read some coaching books , Don Cherry , Bo Shchembeckler, I don’t care what you think of Don he was a great coach. But you teach and you teach and you yell and you go back over the basics. But sometimes the players don’t hear you anymore. The only way to get there attention is to make them look bad. Not calling timeouts when the team really needs one , but havnt been listening. Playing somebody to long and gas them. Making them sit, not giving them minutes. I think we have witnessed all of that at the beginning of the season and since the trade, there has been no reason for that , looks like everybody is on the same page and he can just coach. My two cents.

    • raptorstand

      But anyways I’m really scared of this one , could be a huge let down after the big win, thinking of the weekend in Miami. I just hope Casey gets them up for the start of the game . This is a real test for a up and coming team to see what they do.

  • jkk

    IMPORTANT MUST READ – Hey whatsup guys I’m a big Raptors fan. One thing weve got to do is start campaigning for KD to come play for us. He grew up a raptors fan and actually wants to play here and with all this winning thats been going on its a big way to get his attention. I thinking little things like beating Oklahoma on the road and just us as a fan base reaching out to him will make him want to actually consider signing here when hes a free agent. It could happen trust me lol

    • Tanks-a-lot

      That all depends on any Playoff disappointment for the Thunder.

      If they ever win it all, the incentive to leave is gone.

  • mountio

    Does anyone else get the “disconnected from the IRC network” when they try to join the chat? I got in the first few on this new format, but not able on the last few. The gameday thread is good too … but just wondering

    • ckh26

      Likely something to do with firewalls and your service provider… none the less.. try this…

      • arsenalist

        Damn it. I got to fix that at some point. Will do soon.

      • arsenalist

        Try again, the problem is that you have to manually enter the channel. Kind of sucks.

  • Tanks-a-lot

    I wonder if “The Trade” is on par with the Carter/Alomar/McGriff/Fernandez Trade in terms of the magic effect that it has/had for the fortunes of a franchise.

    One could compare Fred McGriff the solo homerun master with Rudy Gay as a bricklaying, infrequently gamewinning, ‘cornerstone’.

    • DDayLewis

      Gay is undoubtedly Joe Carter. Both “inefficient” offensive players

      • Tanks-a-lot


        NO WAY!!!

        RBIs and being clutch at all points in the game is a HUGE plus

        Would you have kept McGriff?

        • DDayLewis

          I should have known better than to compare Gay to a Jays legend.

          Carter was good. He just wasn’t as amazing as everyone thought he was. Average OBP, OPS, wOBA, etc. Lots of those gaudy RBI totals came because Alomar was always on base.

          • Tanks-a-lot

            Carter was a piece. A significant piece.

            McGriff was a black hole that did not do anything more than pad his numbers. Not that he was a bad guy, I loved him, he was my childhood hero. But I loved the team more than my hero. Just like Gay, McGriff did not set out to be that kind of player, he just couldn’t adjust to the conditions.

            • DDayLewis


              • Tanks-a-lot

                stay cool

            • Atothe

              You are a dumbass, mcgriff was a way better player and I will not accept the bullshit you’re spewing. Mcgriff was a winner everywhere he went except tampa bay. I guessing winning a World Series in Atlanta doesn’t count huh

              • Tanks-a-lot


                McGriff hit fastballs, that’s it.

                McGriff was no good at Sacrifice.

                Man, I grew up on the 85 Kansas series

              • Tanks-a-lot

                A Win is winning the ‘whole thing’

                Why do you know John Paxson’s name?

              • Tanks-a-lot

                I’m NOT saying McGriff wasn’t consistent. I’m just saying that he wasn’t a KEY player that affected each game in multiple ways.

          • Tanks-a-lot

            Knowing what to do with the bat is a great skill. I’m glad both came over.

            I wonder how much Carter sacrificed in terms of career numbers to be a winner.

      • Tanks-a-lot


        Did Joe Carter and Robbie Alomar beget Moneyball?

  • Brett

    That 3rd quarter was a thing of beauty.