North of the Border Raptors to Continue Dominance in U.S. Capital

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 10:55 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 10:55 PM UTC

It’s a potential Eastern Conference playoff preview Thursday night as the Toronto Raptors make their first visit of the season to Washington D.C., a place they have had much success.

Toronto Raptors at Washington WizardsFree NBA Pick: Raptors -3Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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It’s a 7 p.m. ET tip from Capital One Arena in D.C. on Thursday night (no national TV) as the Wizards host the Raptors. These teams met twice in Toronto over the span of two weeks in November – Washington All-Star point guard John Wall missed both, and he won’t play Thursday, either.

On Nov. 5, the Raptors were 6.5-point favorites and lost 107-96. Bradley Beal was great with 38 points and Otto Porter Jr. added 19 as the Wizards never trailed – Toronto has been the East's best team at home this season. Tim Frazier started for Wall and had four points and eight assists in 31 minutes. DeMar DeRozan had 26 for the Raptors, but Kyle Lowry was ejected in the second quarter with two technical and had just two points.

On Nov. 19, Toronto was -6.5 again and won 100-91. DeRozan had 33 points with no other Raptors player scoring more than 12. Beal had 27 for the Wizards and Frazier six points and eight assists, but Markieff Morris was 1-for-10 with one more point (3) than fouls committed (2).

The Raptors are 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings.

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Highlights from a BIG #WizThunder win in #TheDistrict last night! #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/3kA2oh1ESG

— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 31, 2018
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NBA Stars Going Down

How strange of a week or so has it been in the NBA with injuries to star players? You have DeMarcus Cousins missing the season, Kevin Love out perhaps two months and Wall missing 6-8 weeks following a procedure to clean up left knee issues. He had missed a handful of games earlier due to the knee bothering him. Wall wanted the procedure now so he could return by the postseason. Wall is a great player but wasn’t have his best season, with his scoring (19.4 ppg), assists (9.3 apg), shooting (41.7 percent) and steals (1.3 spg) all well down from last year. He has been replaced for the All-Star Game by Detroit's Andre Drummond.

Washington (28-22 SU, 22-28 ATS) should be good enough to stay in playoff position without Wall in the weak East, although the Wizards could easily slip to the No. 7 or No. 8 spot – which could mean a first-round matchup with Toronto, which is battling the Celtics for the East’s top seed.

The Wizards improved to 7-6 this season without Wall by ending Oklahoma City’s eight-game winning streak on Thursday in a 102-96 victory. Beal and Porter combined for 46 points. Tomas Satoransky technically took Wall’s starting spot even though he’s a 6-foot-7 small forward. He had four points, six assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes and helped harass Russell Westbrook into a terrible night. Frazier, the backup point guard, got just 15 minutes and was scoreless.

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28 assists on 39 buckets.@BMO Game Highlights: https://t.co/F43mJzcs6b pic.twitter.com/siClYYskMq

— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 31, 2018
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The Raptors (34-15 SU, 26-23 ATS) won their second straight game Tuesday, 109-104 over the visiting Timberwolves. DeRozan had 23 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebounds – it was JV’s fourth straight double-double over which he’s averaging 18.8 points and 12.0 rebounds. Swingman C.J. Miles, a key bench player, was out with knee soreness. Toronto improved to 28-8 this season when dishing out at least 20 assists.

Washington’s 3-13 record against Toronto in the last four years is the team’s lowest winning percentage against any team in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors have won their past seven in D.C. The Wiz are just 1-5 ATS in their past six at home, so make it eight straight there for Toronto on Thursday’s NBA pick.

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