The Raptors (5-3) earned a split of their six-game road trip with a 109-100 victory at Utah on Friday night as they dealt the Jazz their first home loss. DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 37 points and Kyle Lowry added 15 and 10 assists for the Raptors, who shot 53.5 percent from the field and scored 24 points off 13 Utah turnovers.
DeRozan had a solid road trip, averaging 24.7 points on 47.7 percent shooting, and he also made 39 of 49 free throws in the six games. Lowry had three games with at least nine assists and his 3.41 assist-to-turnover ratio is 11th in the league.
Washington (4-4) have dropped four of five since a 3-0 start, and the Wizards had their pride stung by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 130-122 home loss Friday. James torched the Wizards for 57 points, offsetting a 36-point effort from Bradley Beal.
Kelly Oubre had a career-high 21 points off the bench as Wizards coach Scott Brooks gave Markieff Morris the start in his season debut. Morris went one for six and finished with two points, four rebounds and three assists in 14 minutes.
Star guard John Wall, who is averaging 20.5 points and a team-high 10.4 assists that is second in the league, is questionable for this game with a left shoulder injury suffered in a collision with Cavaliers forward Channing Frye on Friday night. Wall finished with a season-low 13 points, 15 assists and missed seven free throws.
Three keys to the game
Wizards need a new spell for defense - Washington's defense is not among the team's strengths, but when its high-powered offense can't keep up, it's a problem.
The Wizards have given up 111.4 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting in their last five contests/ Take away the 110-83 rout of Sacramento and those numbers jump to 118.5 points on 49.4 percent shooting.
Surprising Siakam - The second-year forward logged just 13 minutes in Toronto's first three games before injuries throughout the frontcourt gave him the opportunity to enter the rotation.
Siakam hasn't disappointed, averaging 12.4 points and 6.0 rebounds in five games while shooting 59.8 percent. He's an energy guy and someone the Raptors will need to contribute to further their good start.
Taking care of the ball - Both the Raptors (20.6) and Wizards (20.1) are in the NBA's top five in average points off turnovers, so it will be important for Lowry and Wall, should he play, to limit live-ball turnovers while running the offense.
Wall, who handles the ball more than Lowry in their respective team's half court sets, is fourth among qualifying players with a .453 assists rate, but opponents have scored 10.9 points per game off his turnovers.
Matchup to watch
SG Bradley Beal vs. SG DeMar DeRozan - If it is points you want, then you're in luck as the NBA's 11th-leading scorer in Beal takes on No. 12 in DeRozan. Both players give opposing defenses fits by getting into the lane with regularity; DeRozan is tied for fifth in the league with 73 free throws attempted and Beal is 12th with 58.
While Beal does most of his damage at the rim, DeRozan is highly effective in the mid-range game, hitting 51.3 percent (38 for 74) from 10 to 19 feet as he often backs down his opponent. Beal has been the hotter player with 76 points in his last two games, but DeRozan has scored 24 or more six times.
Washington Wizards projected starting lineup
PG - John Wall | SG - Bradley Beal | C - Marcin Gortat | SF - Otto Porter | PF - Markieff Morris
Toronto Raptors projected starting lineup
PG - Kyle Lowry | SG - DeMar DeRozan | C - Jonas Valanciunas | SF - Norman Powell | PF - Serge Ibaka
DeRozan has been a force in Toronto's last six games against Washington, averaging 30.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists while hitting 84.0 percent of his free throws (63 of 75).
Serge Ibaka has been a steady, quiet contributor against the Wizards, averaging 15.8 points in the last six matchups he's had while making 11 of 26 from 3-point range.
Beal has scored 19.1 points per game in 12 contests versus Toronto, but did average 21.7 points in the three meetings last season. Wall has recorded double-digit assists in five of his last eight games against Toronto and is averaging 21.5 points and 9.1 assists in that span.
There is no betting line on the game due to the uncertainty of Wall's status, but even with him, they have struggled in recent trends. Washington are 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 games and have a six-game losing streak against the spread when facing Eastern Conference opponents.
Toronto are 4-1 against the spread in their last five days and usually come out of the blocks strong after a road trip; the Raptors are 6-1 in the first games of home stands following trips that last at least seven days.
While November is too early to label anything a "must-win," one almost gets the sense the Wizards at least need to put in a 48-minute effort on the defensive end to right themselves.
James put Beal and the Wizards in their place Friday night, abusing every defender Washington threw at them. Winning will be hard with or without Wall, but Beal may have to sacrifice some of his offense to concentrate on slowing down DeRozan.
This may come down to secondary scorers, which for Toronto are Serge Ibaka and potentially Norman Powell, who has scored 29 points in his last two games.
For the Wizards, it means Otto Porter while Brooks tries to manage the minutes between Oubre and Morris at the four spot. The Wizards will put together a better defensive effort, but it won't be enough as the Raptors have more firepower for a 117-110 win.
This game will be televized locally on TSN4 and NBC Sports Washington D.C. Tip off time is 6 pm ET.
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