The Boston Celtics are the talk of the Eastern Conference, which is allowing the Toronto Raptors to fly under the radar a bit as they find their groove. The Raptors will try to run their winning streak to four straight at the expense of another East contender when they host the Washington Wizards on Sunday.
Toronto is getting used to a new offense that promotes ball movement and 3-point shooting, and the work is paying off in the form of a three-game winning streak in which it is averaging 120.3 points. The Raptors’ lone loss in their last six games was a 95-94 setback at Boston, and they scored 119 points or more in four of their last six contests. Toronto’s offense will be taking on a Wizards defense that held each of its last five opponents to 95 or fewer points but is coming off the lone loss in that span — a 91-88 home setback to the Miami Heat. “We didn’t make shots,” Washington coach Scott Brooks explained. “We got down on ourselves. When we got down on ourselves, we put our heads down instead of running back and making up for it on the other end.”
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Washington, Sportsnet One (Toronto)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (9-6): Washington point guard John Wall limped to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting in Friday’s loss to Miami while dealing with a swollen knee and is unsure if he will play on Sunday. “I mean, it just came up out of nowhere,” Wall told the Washington Post. “It was feeling good and then it just popped up. I trust my training staff and those guys and our doctors to do what’s best for me and they’ll tell me if I need to sit and what I need to do to get it back right. I’ve been preparing myself by doing all of the exercises and corrective work they want me to do, so I’m just going to stick with the plan I’ve been doing.” Wall is averaging 19.9 points and 9.3 assists in 14 games but also sat out a trip to Toronto on Nov. 5, when the Wizards earned a 107-96 win.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (10-5): Toronto is dealing with its own injuries to starting small forward Norm Powell (hip) and power forward Serge Ibaka (knee), but leaned on its depth to blow past the New York Knicks 107-84 on Friday. Second-year power forward Pascal Siakam and rookie OG Anunoby filled in and combined for 24 points on 11-of-21 shooting while playing strong defense. “I have all the confidence in the world with our second unit, young guys,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “I have confidence they’re gonna play well and I have confidence they’re not gonna play well at times. One thing that can’t be a question and hasn’t been a question is their energy and effort. (They) infuse energy into the game.”
1. Washington SF Otto Porters Jr. went 4-of-10 from the floor on Friday, snapping a string of 10 straight games shooting better than 50 percent.
2. Toronto PG Kyle Lowry is averaging 22 points, 9.5 assists and 9.5 rebounds in the last two games.
3. The road team took the last four in the series.
PREDICTION: Raptors 112, Wizards 103