Gameday: Raptors @ Wizards, October 12

The last stop before Toronto tips off the regular season. Sit back, relax, and please watch your blood pressure levels because this season is going to be a roller coaster. October 20th is going to be great because Raptors basketball is finally back in Toronto.

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So, here we are.

Last game of the preseason and with just a week to go before the quest for greatness begins, Toronto and Washington get an early look at each other before they battle in each teams first game of the regular season.

The most important thing to consider with Washington is what Spencer Dinwiddie will do now that he’s assumed a bigger role. Dinwiddie with Brooklyn was a problem but now that he’s teaming up with Bradley Beal, I feel like he could really improve. Washington has finally flipped the script and completely retooled their roster, bringing in new faces like Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and a few other serviceable players. To be honest, I feel like this might be the Wizards deepest team in years. They essentially got a massive haul from the Lakers stemming back from the John Wall-Russell Westbrook trade last summer. I expect Washington to be a tough matchup tonight but I think momentum is on the Toronto’s side.

Deny passing lanes

Washington is dead last in the league for assists per game at 18. I haven’t paid much attention to them in the preseason, but it seems like this is the kind of matchup where Toronto’s length will truly be an obvious advantage. Bradley Beal hasn’t played more than 25 minutes in the preseason and it’d be a smart choice by the Wiz coaching staff to keep his minutes minimal until the regular season tips off. Regardless, if he gets the ball, there’s a good chance he’ll try and create some separation between him and his defender. Go over screens and communicate.

Stay aggressive

Toronto forced Houston into 28 turnovers last night and tallied 18 steals. In other words, the Rockets were decimated on the defensive end. Hands were active and guys were playing as though it was a regular season game, which might be an indication of just how hungry the Raps are. It’s a tall task to play tough coverage like that for a full 48 minutes, which was also evident after watching Toronto’s 20+ lead dissipate in the third. However, Houston never really got close and ultimately lost the game by 15. The Raptors were in control the entire time and if they’re able to tap into that same energy tonight, Washington should allot extra time to watching tape before they visit Scotiabank Arena next Wednesday to kick off the NBA’s 75th season.

Toronto’s Lineup

Goran Dragic (rest), Pascal Siakam (shoulder), Chris Boucher (finger), and Yuta Watanabe (calf strain) are unavailable for Toronto. Fred and OG are resting.

PG: Malachi Flynn, Goran Dragić

SG: Gary Trent Jr., Svi Mykhailiuk, Sam Dekker, Justin Champagnie, David Johnson

SF: Dalano Banton, Isaac Bonga

PF: Scottie Barnes, Ish Wainright

C: Khem Birch, Precious Achiuwa, Freddie Gillespie, Reggie Perry

Washington’s Lineup

Thomas Bryant (knee), Rui Hachimura (personal), and Cassius Winston (hamstring) won’t play for Washington tonight.

PG: Spencer Dinwiddie, Raul Neto

SG: Bradley Beal, Aaron Holiday, Jordan Goodwin,

SF: Corey Kispert, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Anthony Gill, Jordan Schakel

PF: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Deni Avdija, Isaiah Todd

C: Daniel Gafford, Davis Bertans, Jaime Echenique, Jay Huff

The Line

The Wizards are 4.5 favourites to win tonights contest, with an O/U of 225.5. I’d go against the grain and say the Raptors are favoured to win tonight by atleast 5.5 with an O/U of 218.

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