Wizards-Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors are opening a three-game homestand with

Chris Bosh’s status uncertain. With or without the All-Star

forward, they might want to try a different game plan against the

Washington Wizards.

After overcoming Bosh’s absence to continue their torrid scoring

run, the Raptors look to end a three-game home losing streak to the

lowly Wizards on Saturday night.

Toronto (30-24) won 106-89 at New Jersey on Friday night,

extending its franchise record for consecutive 100-point games to

19. The Raptors shot 59.7 percent, even with Bosh missing the game

due to an ankle injury.

Bosh, who was hurt in a 109-102 overtime loss to Memphis on

Wednesday night, wasn’t in New Jersey and is listed as day to day.

He leads the Raptors with 24.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game,

both career highs.

Bosh has played in Toronto’s last two home games against

Washington (19-33) after missing the previous matchup due to a knee

injury. The Raptors came up short in each contest, though the

Wizards have been one of the league’s worst teams during that

span.

Bosh was one of three players to score at least 20 points for

Toronto in a 106-102 home loss to Washington on Dec. 1. Since then,

the Raptors have won 15 of 18 at the Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors needed overtime to win their only other meeting with

the Wizards this season, 109-107 on Dec. 4. Bosh had 31 points, 16

rebounds and four assists.

Rasho Nesterovic didn’t score in 4 minutes off the bench in that

contest, but he had a strong performance as Bosh’s replacement

versus the Nets, posting a season-high 16 points. The 7-footer

didn’t play in the previous three games and had totaled two points

in 10 minutes over the two games before that.

“There are some nights you just feel it,” Nesterovic said. “It’s

much easier than if you’re struggling. All I can do is try and do

my best.”

Washington will again be without big man Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who

will not travel to Toronto. His future with the team is uncertain

after being acquired from Cleveland as part of three-team trade

Wednesday.

Ilgauskas finally reported to the Wizards on Friday, but he

arrived too late to participate in practice. The veteran could be

bought out.

Washington, though, got strong efforts from two of its other new

additions in a 107-97 win over Denver on Friday night.

Al Thornton, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers as part of

Wednesday’s deal that sent Antawn Jamison to the Cavaliers, scored

21 points in his Wizards debut. Josh Howard added 20 points in his

first start for Washington since being acquired from Dallas on Feb.

13.

Coach Flip Saunders, seemingly excited over the Wizards’ new

look, had a unique pregame pep talk.

“We’ve got to play like a bunch of mad dogs,” he told them.

It was the Wizards’ second game without Jamison. Andray Blatche,

who has replaced Jamison in the starting lineup, had a career-high

33 points in a 108-99 win over Minnesota on Wednesday night and

posted 18 points and 11 rebounds versus the Nuggets.

Blatche has helped put the Wizards in position to try to win

three straight for the first time this season.