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News » Raptors-Wizards Preview

Raptors-Wizards Preview

Raptors-Wizards Preview
Without Jermaine O'Neal and Jose Calderon, the Toronto Raptors couldn't hang on to a late lead in their last contest.

Both starters will likely sit out again Wednesday when the Raptors try to salvage a split of their brief two-game road trip as they visit the Washington Wizards.

O'Neal is set to miss his fifth straight game with a sore right knee, while Calderon is expected to sit out his third in a row with a strained right hamstring.

In their absence Monday night, Chris Bosh tried to carry the Raptors (14-21), scoring 31 points while shooting 12 of 14 from the floor, but Toronto fell 107-97 at Milwaukee. Andrea Bargnani - O'Neal's replacement at center - added 21 points, but second-string point guard Will Solomon struggled to replace Calderon, with four points on 2-for-13 shooting.

"Some of the shots we had were good shots. They just didn't go down," said shooting guard Anthony Parker, who had 12 points. "We just didn't get it done. It's disappointing because this certainly was a winnable game."

Bargnani is averaging 21.0 points since entering the starting lineup.

Despite their overall struggles, Washington (7-26) has been a tough matchup for the Raptors, taking three of the last four meetings in last season's series and eight of the last nine contests between the teams at the Verizon Center.

Since recording their first consecutive wins of the season, the Wizards have dropped three of four, including Tuesday's 89-80 defeat in Orlando.

Caron Butler scored all 29 of his points in the second half, including 21 in the third quarter as he tried to rally Washington from a second quarter in which it only managed six points. The Wizards crept within 83-80 with 1:18 left on Butler's final basket, but the Magic scored the game's final six points to put the game away.

"We put ourselves in the grave in the second quarter. And in the third quarter, we kind of dug ourselves out," Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said. "But even you have those real big lulls, when you get down double digits, so much energy is expended trying to get back. Then when you get even, that's where they make their run."

Tuesday's game was Butler's best in three games since returning from an ankle injury on Friday. With the 29-point effort he increased his season average to a team-best 20.8, just ahead of Antawn Jamison's 20.5.

Jamison, who leads Washington with 9.5 rebounds per game, had 13 points Tuesday - his 28th consecutive double-digit performance. He's scored 24 points or more in four of his last six games against the Raptors, and has double-doubles in four of the teams' last five meetings.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 7, 2009


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