The Raptors have had a lot of low points this season. They come off one on Wednesday and now they re-visit another tonight at the ACC. The Raptors were the first team to find a way to lose to the Washington Wizards. Since that time the Wizards have flipped off Flip and have 3 more wins to their total which stands at 4. Included in that is a road win, so at least it saves the Raptors the indignity of being the first to lose to Wizards at home as well. Wizards lone road victory comes over a team that would rival them as one the NBA's worst, with a 102-99 win over the team we affectionately in the DNB refer to has to Bobkittens. The Wizard actually have two wins over Charlotte, the only other win is an unexpected and miracle like win over the best team in the NBA the OKC Thunder. So, if the Raptors want to be considered better than Bobcats they better find a way to win tonight. If not they could be looking at how not to be the first team to lose to the Wizards 3 times. The Raptors have a home and home with the Wizards with the Miami Heat sandwiched in the middle.
First and foremost the Raptors have to figure out how the hell to score without Andrea Bargnani. 64 points is just unacceptable. Raptors have been below the the 65 point mark 3 times this season already. They have only reached 100 points twice and not surprisingly Andrea Bargnani was in the line-up for both of those games. Also one of those games was a double OT win vs Utah. Demar DeRozan has averaged 9 points less than Andrea Bargnani as the Raptors 2nd best point producer. To say that Demar's performance this year has been inconsistent would be the kindest way to put it.
What is up with Demar is up for debate. As for what is up with Amir Johnson we are not sure exactly what, but some light was shed on to why he may be having a difficult year. Dwane Casey revealed that Johnson aside from his problems on the floor had also been dealing with some personal issues. Johnson when asked about it did not want to elaborate on what these personal issues might be. He would suggest that it was in no way an excuse for his performance. But that said it is a reason. Which is more than what we have for a lot of guys on this roster. The Raptors seem to lack any kind of confidence on the offensive end of the floor. They miss shots and as in past prior to Dwane Casey's arrival that lack of success leaks to the other end of the floor. This perhaps explains the Raptors terrible starts to games as they come out cold on offence and that leads to no defence. Casey most nights can correct those issues but has failed to find the answers on the offensive side without Bargnani. Someone did ask about Bargnani yesterday and he is day to day but no where close to returning by the sounds of it.
This stretch in the sked will be an interesting test for this team. A game that you almost have to win tonight, a game that you will almost certain lose in Miami and then facing that same bad Wizards team in D.C where you have already lost. The Raptors collective pride is going to be tested in these next 3 games. The Wizards much like the Raptors are challenged to find scoring on a given night. When Nick Young leads your team in scoring most nights you have issues. Tonight's game has all the potential in the world to be one of the more ugly basketball games you might ever witness. However, stylistically appealing or not it is a win the Raptors desperately need to have. Raptors are a dismal 2-6 at home and the Wizards an equally horrific 1-9 on the road. Someone has to win tonight of this we are certain.
Stay In Range: This is another way to say please do something in the first quarter. To many Raptor games have already been decided by the end of the 1st quarter. This is a team like you that struggles to score. So shots falling or not defend and hang around and chances are you will have a shot to take this game at the end.
Draw Contact: Wizards are a team with some ability to block shots. Use that aggressive nature against them and attack the basket, draw some fouls and get to the line. It helps in two ways. First you get some of there shot blockers in foul trouble making life easier for everyone. Two, you have struggled to score and at the line is an opportunity and easy points which the Raptors badly need.
Defend the glass: Be active and compete on the glass. Wizards are a team that can be challenged to find scoring just like the Raptors so don't give them 2nd chances to do it. While shooting % is a nice stat to measure defence it loses value every time you give up an offensive rebound.
So it may not be pretty but it is the best hop the Raptors have to get a win for Toronto since playing the Nets. You can feel confident that a win is not coming Sunday. So this is almost like defending yourself from a 4 game losing streak. Not to mention the Raptors owe their fans a good performance at home. There have been few of those this season. Not to mention few home games to begin with.