Gameday: Raptors @ Wizards, December 27

The beginning of an extremely heavy road schedule

The next month will be very telling in regards to what Toronto does when the trade deadline approaches.

Already seven games under .500, the Raptors will now play nine of their next 10 games on the road, where they are 3-9 this season. The majority of those teams have winning records, and Memphis looks to be back with Ja Morant’s return.

If you want wholesale changes, maybe bottoming out isn’t a bad idea. The Raptors have the seventh worst record in the NBA but with the Grizzlies recent surge that might change soon. Remember, the 2024 first round pick the Raptors sent to San Antonio in the Jakob Poeltl deal is top six protected.

Raptors scope: 11-18, 12th in East | Offensive Rating: 21st (113.0) | Defensive Rating: T-17th (115.2)

Toronto comes in on its third three game losing streak of the season after blowing a 17 point lead to Utah on Saturday. The last time the Raptors faced Washington (Nov 13), they overcame a 23 point deficit to win behind a season-high 39 points from Pascal Siakam. It was arguably the loudest Scotiabank Arena has been all season. Kyle Kuzma had 34 points in that game but also committed six turnovers.

Scottie Barnes tied a career-high with 32 points against the Jazz, also stuffing other categories with 14 rebounds and seven assists. He’s averaging 23.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1.1 spg and 1.5 bpg in December off 55/39/74 shooting splits. It’s been the best month of his career despite the Raptors 2-8 record this month. Growth.

Wizards scope: 5-24, 14th in East | Offensive Rating: 23rd (112.4) | Defensive Rating: 30th (121.3)

Washington is 2-9 in December after suffering another loss to Orlando yesterday. Only Detroit and San Antonio have worse records. This is the second night of a back-to-back for the Wizards.

Washington owns the worst defensive rating in the league, so expect Siakam to exploit defensive mismatches again. The Wizards also gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Toronto in the last matchup. Nobody knows what this team’s future plans are. Jordan Poole has been underwhelming. Kuzma’s numbers are nice (22.8, 6.1 rpg, 4.3 apg), but its not leading to anything tangible.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7pm EST | TV: Sportsnet 1, 1 4K, NBA TV | Radio: Sportsnet 590

Raptors Lineup

Christian Koloko (respiratory) remains out.

PG: Dennis Schroder, Malachi Flynn

SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr, Gradey Dick

SF: O.G. Anunoby, Otto Porter Jr, Jalen McDaniels, Garrett Temple

PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young

C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa

Wizards Lineup

Clean injury report.

PG: Tyus Jones, Delon Wright, Ryan Rollins

SG: Jordan Poole, Landry Shamet, Johnny Davis

SF: Deni Avdija, Bilal Coulibaly

PF: Kyle Kuzma, Corey Kispert, Anthony Gill, Patrick Baldwin Jr.

C: Daniel Gafford, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala

The Line

Lines are from Fanduel, from 11:30am ET.

Raptors-7 (-108)-270O 240.5 (-110)
Wizards+7 (-112)+220U 240.5 (-110)