Pre-Game

Gameday: Raptors @ Wizards, Jan. 13

A family is spending a Saturday night indoors. Each one of them wrapped up in a different blanket that they had gotten over the holiday season. Playing scrabble, jenga and the like. The two parents and two children all share a giant bowl of romaine lettuce, all smiles. Soon enough, one of the parents brings out a giant bowl of croutons for everyone to share. The children scream with happiness, so happy to snack on a nice crouton. When one of the children tries to eat a crouton wrapped in lettuce his parents scold him. The other child laments to the parents, asking them how a child could reach their potential if they never get to try new things. Suggesting they might benefit from doing different things. The parents remove their blankets to reveal two Washington Wizards jerseys with the number two embossed on them. In unison they yell: “WE WILL NEVER CHANGE!”

The last time the two teams faced, the Raptors came out on top. This time it’s the Raptors heading to Washington to engage with the new-look Wizards. After John Wall opted to go under the knife – he’ll miss the rest of the season – the Wizards have banded together, like Beric Dondarrion and his ragtag crew. ‘Small Dario Saric’ (Tomas Satoransky) is coming off of his first career triple-double and Bradley Beal is as dependable as ever. All things told, the Raptors should be able to nab a win on the road and continue their winning streak. If the game gets out of hand, or Beal & co. make a game of it, this could prove to be an intimate look at Beal for Raptors decision makers and vice-versa for the very capable front-office in Washington.

*This trade probably won’t happen, but who knows*

Beal fits the mold of a player that does stress the Raptors guards on defense. Similar to Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard, and D’angelo Russell, he’ll be working downhill off the pick n’ roll. Serge Ibaka will be looking to find the perfect middle-ground on defense, denying Beal easy looks in the mid-range while simultaneously corralling him away from the hoop. Beal remains an underrated athlete and is shooting over 70-percent at the rim. Not to mention he’s been a one-man wrecking crew since Wall opted for surgery. Leading the Wizards to a 5-2 record in the seven games since, hitting well over 3 triples a game on his way to 28 points per outing.

It hasn’t been a shock to those paying attention, but Satoransky had little trouble stepping into the Wizards starting lineup and is putting up a more than modest 12-6-6 line in that role. He’s also shooting over 50-percent from the field and 3-point land, to boot. The Raptors remain the favourites, of course. Pascal Siakam could see a decent amount of post-ups in this one, and the Raptors bench finally looks ready to enter the fray. With more than 4 players performing at a time, the Raptors seem poised to rip off a great run. The Wizards aren’t likely to be a major deterrent, even with their backcourt playing at this level.

Game Info

TV: Sportsnet One | Radio: TheFan590 | Tipoff: 1pm EST.

Raptors Updates

Fred VanVleet (hip) is questionable this afternoon, Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) is out for roughly 3-4 more weeks, and CJ Miles is doubtful against the Wizards, but has no listed injury. Chris Boucher did not travel with the team (905).

PG: Kyle Lowry, Delon Wright, Jordan Loyd

SG: Danny Green, Norman Powell, Malachi Richardson

SF: Kawhi Leonard, OG Anunoby

PF: Pascal Siakam

C: Serge Ibaka, Greg Monroe

Wizards Updates

John Wall (heel) is out for the remainder of the regular season, Markieff Morris (neck) is out for roughly 6-weeks, Dwight Howard is sidelined.

PG: Tomas Satoransky, Chasson Randle

SG: Bradley Beal, Jordan Mcrae

SF: Otto Porter, Trevor Ariza, Troy Brown Jr.

PF: Jeff Green, Sam Dekker, Devin Robinson

C: Thomas Bryant, Ian Mahinmi

I’ve always loved watching the Sunday matinee games. A nice bowl of croutons and Matt Devlin and Leo Rautins exchanging passive-aggressive jabs is everything a Raptors fan could hope for.

Have a blessed day.

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