Raptors News

Pre-game news & notes: Powell out, Ibaka returns, Wall sits

Given the competitiveness of most of the individuals involved, NBA teams probably relish the opportunity to have a rematch with a team they just suffered a loss to. It’s a means of quickly getting a bad taste out of their collective mouth, of applying lessons learned, and of displaying some of the intangible traits that teams like to believe they possess more than any other.

If that’s how the Toronto Raptors feel about playing the Washington Wizards two weeks after nearly getting embarrassed on their own court, they’re not letting on. In that game, Kyle Lowry was ejected in the second quarter for a double-technical, and the point guard is taking the approach of forgetting that day altogether.

“I don’t remember that game, personally,” Lowry said at practice Saturday.

Jest aside, the Raptors should be hungry to avenge one of their worst losses of the season this afternoon, and the lessons from that rough outing are foremost on their minds Sunday.

“More than remember what team, the focus and the energy level, what they did to hurt us, more than anything else,” head coach Dwane Casey said before the game. “More than the losing, I think just those things are more important for the big picture. Understanding how they beat us in pick-and-rolls, how they beat us in transition, understanding the problems we had offensively. That’s more important.”

The game tips off at 3:30 on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 590. You can check out the full game preview here.

Raptors updates
Toronto is dealing with the same injury sheet as they were on Friday – Delon Wright is out, Norman Powell is doubtful, and Serge Ibaka is questionable.

Wright can safely be expected out for a while longer, as he’s set to visit a specialist when the team is in New York this week (Tuesday and Wednesday). It’s unlikely there will be an update before then, and in the best-case scenario where there’s no re-tearing of the labrum in his twice-dislocated right shoulder, the team may not even have a firm timeline for him, anyway. Fred VanVleet will continue to assume a larger role in his stead, and while he may not play 18 minutes again, Lorenzo Brown will factor into the second unit at times. (Brown is dealing with a wonky left ankle, too, hence the team reversing course on his planned re-assignment to Raptors 905 on Saturday.)

If Powell and Ibaka sit again, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby would figure to start. Anunoby and Siakam have been terrific together in a small sample, with the fit on offense proving much more tenable than conservative predictions may have suggested. Defensively, it’s a great look against a Wizards outfit that offers a lot of length at every position and may even be playing without a point guard at times – Powell is the team’s primary defender for players like Bradley Beal, but they’ll trust Siakam and Anunoby on him, too, and may even be comfortable switching them on John Wall, if he plays.

As a refresher, Powell is day-to-day with a hip pointer, an injury that’s always hard to put a timeline on, and Ibaka is dealing with knee soreness, though not in the same knee that cost him a game earlier in the year.

UPDATE: Powell is out, Ibaka is back.

PG: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Lorenzo Brown
SG: DeMar DeRozan
SF: OG Anunoby, C.J. Miles, Alfonzo McKinnie
PF: Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, Bruno Caboclo
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira
OUT: Delon Wright, Norman Powell
TBD: None
905: Malcolm Miller

Wizards updates
The Raptors avoided John Wall last time out, and it did them no good whatsoever. Instead of striking with that enormous opportunity, they turned in one of their worst performances of the season early, getting behind a Tim Frazier-led group with Bradley Beal assuming the scoring load. It was only close because the bench surged back. Wall is questionable once again here, as he was critical of his own performance Friday due to the presence of fluid in his knee. If Wall can’t go, Frazier will start again and the Raptors will have to fight against overconfidence. If Wall plays, even at something less than 100 percent, that’s a big challenge for what’s been an average defense so far.

Otherwise, the Wizards’ rotation is more or less set. Tomas Satoransky would be the de facto backup point guard if Wall sits and Jason Smith and Ian Mahinmi continue to trade backup center minutes. It’s otherwise straightforward.

UPDATE: Wall is out.

PG: Tim Frazier, Tomas Satoransky
SG: Bradley Beal, Jodie Meeks
SF: Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre
PF: Markieff Morris, Mike Scott, Chris McCullough
C: Marcin Gortat, Jason Smith, Ian Mahinmi
OUT: Sheldon Mac, John Wall
TBD: None
G-League (no affiliate): Devin Robinson, Mike Young


The line
The Raptors opened as 5.5-point favorites and the line’s nudged down to Raptors -4.5. It’s hard to get a good feel for where it should be with the status of three starters up in the air, but it’s at a sensitive point on the over-under spectrum, so news could shift it close to tip. The over-under dropped from 214 to 210.5 quickly. The line jumped to Raptors -6.5 with the Wall news.

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