Raptors-Wizards Preview

The Washington Wizards continue to be plagued by injuries but

are hoping to have two of their best players active in a matchup

with the Toronto Raptors.

With both Andray Blatche and Nick Young questionable, the

Wizards will look for a season high-tying third consecutive home

victory when they host the Raptors on Saturday night.

Washington (10-27) fell to 0-19 on the road with a 109-97 loss

to Minnesota on Thursday night as Blatche, averaging a team-best

16.1 points and 8.2 rebounds, sat out with a shoulder injury.

Following a career-high 43-point performance in Tuesday’s

overtime win against Sacramento, Young shot 5 of 14 from the field

and finished with 15 points.

Young, however, felt pain in his left knee after the loss and

was unable to practice Friday. The Wizards would certainly miss

him, as Young is averaging 25.9 points and has made 20 of 42

3-point attempts (47.6 percent) in his last seven home games.

John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists against Minnesota, but

Wizards coach Flip Saunders wants to see the No. 1 overall pick

from the 2010 draft shoot more.

“I talked to John, he was a reluctant shooter (Thursday),”

Saunders said. “He had 15-foot shots, I said ‘I don’t care if you

miss 17 of those, you have to take that shot, that’s your

shot.'”

While the Wizards haven’t had any success on the road, they’ve

won four of six at home, and Blatche hopes his team can continue

that trend.

“For some reason, we always take advantage of games at home, we

always come in with a lot of energy and take care of business at

home,” said Blatche. “So hopefully guys come with the right mindset

and come aggressive and jump on (the Raptors) early.”

The Wizards had lost three straight home meetings with the

Raptors by a combined nine points prior to a 109-94 victory Nov. 16

as Blatche and Young combined for 42 points.

Toronto (13-26) is coming off a 101-95 loss to Detroit on Friday

night despite another strong effort from leading scorer Andrea

Bargnani.

Bargnani recorded 31 points and has averaged 29.0 in his last

three games – 7.1 more than his season average. However, he has

struggled in Washington throughout his career, scoring just 11.5

points per game on 32.4 percent shooting over six contests.

After the Raptors surrendered at least 60 points in the first

half for the fourth time in five games, DeMar DeRozan knows that

his team – which has lost 15 of 20 – needs to bring a better

defensive effort early on.

“I think it’s a lack of energy at the beginning of the game,”

said DeRozan. “Once we see teams jump out on us, then everybody

decides to play. We have to go out there with that attitude from

the gate.”

Leandro Barbosa was averaging 20.3 points in his previous four

games but was held to two Friday before leaving with a strained

right hamstring.

Barbosa will not travel with the Raptors to Washington as they

embark on a difficult five-game road trip, which features games

against New Orleans, San Antonio, Orlando and Miami following

Saturday’s contest.

Toronto, 5-14 on the road, is averaging 113.0 points allowed

during its last four away from home.