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News » Raptors-Wizards Preview 2009-04-13

Raptors-Wizards Preview 2009-04-13

Raptors-Wizards Preview 2009-04-13
When a team has been out of playoff contention for some time, it needs to find a way to motivate itself. For the Washington Wizards, they don't want to go down as the worst team in franchise history.

The Wizards can ensure they will avoid matching the worst record in the history of the franchise Monday night when they try to beat the Toronto Raptors for the second time in four days.

Washington (19-61) has been mired with the worst record in the Eastern Conference through most of the season, but the veterans on the club have stated they don't want to match the 2000-01 club that finished 19-63. The Wizards put themselves into position to reach 20 wins with a 100-98 victory at Toronto on Friday.

"We really want to get that 20 wins and this was a great opportunity," Washington's Caron Butler said. "We rode the momentum and got it."

Butler was the hero with a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer. He played the entire fourth quarter and finished with 21 points.

"I was just trying to make sure there wasn't going to be any time on the clock," Butler said of the last shot. "I was trying to size up the defender and Shawn Marion is a great defender. I was just trying to get him to lean one way and get the opportunity to get my jump shot off. Fortunately, it was able to happen."

The Wizards also got 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocks from Brendan Haywood. The center just missed his third double-double in five games since he made his season debut April 1 after being out due to wrist surgery.

"Brendan Haywood was terrific tonight," Washington coach Ed Tapscott said. "He really helped us shut down the lane a little bit."

The victory evened the season series at one win apiece. Toronto (31-49) won 99-93 at Washington on Jan. 7 by shooting 54.4 percent.

That was one of numerous poor efforts for the Wizards at home as they enter their finale at the Verizon Center. Tapscott indicated that Gilbert Arenas, who has only seen action twice this season due to his surgically repaired left knee, could play Monday.

The Raptors snapped a four-game losing streak with a 111-104 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday. Chris Bosh scored 22 points while Jose Calderon had 11 points and 11 assists.

Calderon notched his second straight double-double after he had 15 points and 11 assists versus the Wizards. He has an assist to turnover ratio of 4.7 (109 assists to 23 turnovers) over his last 11 games.

The Raptors have won seven of their past 11 but Bosh doesn't think the strong finish means too much with Toronto missing the playoffs for the first time in three years.

"Just because we're good on paper right now doesn't mean anything," Bosh said. "It would be a shame and a waste of this season to do the same thing next season."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 13, 2009


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