Raptors Aim To Even Record In Washington

What we’re looking for as the Raptors move on to the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back on the road against the Wizards (7 PM, TSN, FAN 590).

Projected Starters
Jose Calderon (G), DeMar DeRozan (G), Rasual Butler (F),  Andrea Bargnani (F), Amir Johnson (C).
John Wall (G), Nick Young (G), Chris Singleton (F), Andray Blatche (F), JaVale McGee (C)

Key Injuries
– Jerryd Bayless (Sprained Left Ankle) – day-to-day,  Linas Kleiza (Right Knee Surgery) – day-to-day, Aaron Gray (ablation procedure) – OUT
Ronny Turiaf (Fractured Left Hand)- OUT Rashard Lewis (Sore Right Knee)-Questionable

Sweet Disposition: The “disposition” head coach Dwane Casey likes to refer to was back last night against at ACC, as the Raptors used their defence to keep the Wolves at bay in the fourth.

After seeing a 12-point lead evaporate four minutes into the final quarter, the Raptors could have folded just as they did in Dallas and Orlando this season. Instead, they countered Minnesota’s run with just one field goal allowed over the final 7:58 as part of 20-7 run of their own to put the game away.

Despite what Casey called “some bonehead plays” down the stretch, he was pleased post-game with what he saw.

“Our guys buckled down and we talked today about stopping runs, we did a good job today of bouncing back after Minnesota made their run,” said Casey. “So our guys grew a little bit today.”

That disposition failed to travel with the Raptors last weekend in Philadelphia, does it make the trip to Washington tonight?

Centre Of Attention: Amir Johnson could barely get through shootaround with flu-like symptoms and then proceeds to be absolutely pivotal in Monday’s win with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. He was near a double double after one quarter with eight points, eight rebounds and was more than up for the challenge of battling prolific rebounder Kevin Love all night long.

Whether it’s an inside/outside threat like Love or a beast down low like Dwight Howard, Johnson’s been up to the task all season. Tonight he likely matches up with another unique physical specimen in the athletic JaVale McGee.

 Wary Of The Wizards: The Raptors learned last Friday against the Nets what a hungry team can do when it smells a win and tonight provides an interesting test of that lesson.

With players-only meetings, coaches questioning preparation and frustrations mounting, the Wizards desperately need that first win and you can bet that they’re looking at tonight as an opportunity.

“It’s a pride game now, to start this bad,” said franchise point guard John Wall after Sunday’s loss to the Wolves.”It’s nothing but pride to see if you’ve got the heart to play.”

Does Bargnani Do It Again? Andrea Bargnani has been the biggest story of the Raptors young season so far, so to say he’s a big key tonight would be understating it. But as Bargnani went against the Wizards last season, so too did the Raptors.

According to NBA.com, Bargnani averaged 25.5 points on 57.1 percent shooting in two Raptors wins over the Wizards last season. In the team’s two losses, he averaged 18.5 points on 35.3 percent shooting.

The question is can he maintain this workload.  Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Love are the only names at his position playing more minutes right now and he logged 45 minutes last night against the Wolves.

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