Well, well… there’s actually quite a bit to be excited about for Raptors fans tonight. Ed Davis will be in uniform for the first game of his Raptors career, Amir Johnson is getting his second start of the season and his first since November 14, and John Wall is expected to play after missing the Wizards’ previous two games and sitting out the last Raps-Wiz matchup on November 16.
Perhaps Raptors fans will be the only group of fans excited about a game featuring two teams with a combined 11-22 record, but I figure it’s my job to give you reasons to be hyped about every Raptors game, when possible. While the Wizards look bad enough simply by glancing at their 5-11 record, they needed overtime for two of those wins and the only double-digit win was against the Raptors. Washington capitalized on Toronto’s weaksauce defensive effort to make 56 percent of their shots in that game, and Andrea Bargnani had arguably his worst outing of the season as he made just three of 13 shots for 12 points and grabbed just two rebounds. It’s safe to say Bargnani has to do better than that for the Raptors to have a shot in any given game — they’re 6-5 when he scores at least 20 points and 0-6 when he scores fewer than 20.
Toronto: Peja Stojakovic is day-to-day with a swollen knee. Now that Davis is playing, I expect Triano will let Peja rest.
Washington: John Wall (bruised knee) and Al Thornton (sprained ankle) are expected to play and start tonight. Yi Jianlian (bruised knee) and Josh Howard (recovering from knee surgery) are probably out. Hilton Armstrong isn’t hurt, but he’ll serve a one-game suspension tonight.
1. Is tonight the night the Wizards get off the road schneid? They’re the only remaining winless team (0-8) in away games this season.
2. If Wall plays, will Triano give Jerryd Bayless heavy minutes to try to avoid Jose Calderon’s heavy burnination?
3. Will Johnson have to get into early foul trouble for Davis to see more than 10-12 minutes?
4. Is Wall a lock for Rookie of the Year if he can stay healthy? He’s averaging 18.0 points, 9.1 assists and 2.8 steals this season. Here’s the list of NBA players who have averaged at least 16/7/2 in their rookie years: Magic Johnson, Chris Paul, Allen Iverson, Isiah Thomas.
5. Will the “Toronto Rogers” get new uniforms or will they just change a few letters in the existing design? I don’t even want to know what the new mascot will be.
Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Liveblog: James Borbath on theScore.com and ScoreMobile
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
Washington: John Wall, Kirk Hinrich, Al Thornton, Andray Blatche, Javale McGee
In honor of what could be some Raptors fans’ first exposure to John Wall, our pregame song is “Breakneck Speed” by Tokyo Police Club. Hopefully, we won’t see Calderon in a neck brace after this game.