Wizards Aim For Road Win In Toronto
(AP) — If there was ever a question about how much Andrea Bargnani means to the Toronto Raptors, the answer lies in their 1-9 record without him in the lineup.
Unfortunately for the Washington Wizards, their road mark is identical.
Bargnani likely will be out when Toronto seeks its fourth straight home victory over Washington on Friday night.
The Raptors (7-16) are coming off back-to-back blowout losses, falling 100-77 to Atlanta on Tuesday and 100-64 in Boston the following night.
Bargnani has missed the last four games after re-aggravating a calf injury in a double-overtime win over Utah on Jan. 25, and his return is unclear. Toronto’s only victory without him was a 94-73 win over New Jersey on Sunday.
The Raptors are averaging a league-worst 86.0 points, though that number drops to 80.2 with Bargnani sidelined. He’s missed 10 of the team’s 12 games since Jan. 13.
Toronto shot 34.2 percent Wednesday in its most lopsided loss of the season.
“We are going to practice (Thursday). I mean there is no doubt about it after an exhibition like that,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We owe it to the city of Toronto, our organization and ourselves.”
Jerryd Bayless scored a team-high 14 points off the bench Thursday, while Ed Davis had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“I told the team ‘for the rest of your basketball career, remember how this feels tonight,'” Casey said. “I can’t remember getting beat by (36 points) and it’s the worst taste you feel, and that’s something you don’t want to forget.”
It seems Toronto has a good chance to move past that defeat with the struggling Wizards (4-18) coming to town.
Washington fell 109-103 at Orlando on Wednesday, dropping to 4-47 on the road since the beginning of last season. The Wizards are allowing an NBA-worst 107.6 points per game away from home during that span.
They’ve allowed an average of 117.3 in losing three straight at Toronto.
Nick Young scored a game-high 24 points Wednesday and hit four of Washington’s season-high 12 3-pointers. However, coach Randy Wittman’s team allowed 40 fourth-quarter points – the most the Wizards have allowed in a single quarter all season.
John Wall finished 1 for 12 from the field and tied a career low with two points.
“I told our guys we can’t stop playing as hard as we do,” Wittman said. “We’ve got nine guys under rookie contracts. Right now they’re not getting the respect. That’ll come.”
Veteran Rashard Lewis, who had 20 points, said he was pleased with how the team responded after falling behind by 12 in the early going.
“At the beginning of the season we’d always hang our heads,” Lewis said. “… But recently we keep playing hard even when teams make runs. We don’t give up until the end of the game. … We have to take baby steps and take it one day at a time.”
Washington’s first victory of the season was a 93-78 home win over Toronto on Jan. 10, when Lewis and Young scored 15 points apiece to help overcome Bargnani’s 22.
Wall also struggled in that matchup, shooting 3 for 12 and scoring eight points.
These teams have split the last six meetings.