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NBA Wednesday Night on The Hardwood: Washington Wizards Vs. Toronto Raptors
Ringing in the New Year with a Clean Bill of Health
The Toronto Raptors have finally welcomed back two of their best players from injury – with DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas – returning on Monday night in a loss at Chicago. The two have both not played in a game since November and while Monday’s game was a loss, the long term prospect for the Raptors looks up. They may play reduced minutes for their first few games back, but the bench played well in their absence – with the Raptors going 6-3 over 9 games with both players out.
The Wizards were expected to be one of the best teams in the East this season, but injuries and inconsistent play has quite them out of the playoffs for most of the season. The Wizard are a team that may/should make a trade to increase their depth and skill at forward to get over that .500 hump. For ten years .500 or slightly less would get you into the playoffs, but with the East’s increase competitiveness the Wizards have been stuck around the 10-11 spot for most of the season. If Bradley Beal can get healthy and the Wizards can add a strong piece to fill the roll Paul Pierce played last season, the Wizards can start to climb the standing back into a playoff spot.
Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors
This rivalry has been the tale of two seasons lately – with the Raptors having won 4 straight regular season games and 8 of 9 – while the Wizards swept the Raptors in last year’s playoffs. The Raptors are favoured by 6.5 point at home. The Raptors won the first game of the season against Washington on a last second three point shot by Corey Joseph. The Raptors have won the last three regular season games against the Wizards by 4 points or less, but with Bradley Beal – the Wizard lead scorer and arguably their second best player – out of the line-up, the Raptors should be able to handle the Wizards at home.
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