John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards host DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Friday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. TORONTO RAPTORS
Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
Jennings debuts with second unit
The biggest reason why the Wizards beat the Raptors on Wednesday was their bench, which put in its best effort as a group of this season so far. Bojan Bogdanovic, who was recently acquired in a trade at the deadline, led all scorers with 27 points. Ian Mahinmi, who has been sidelined for most of this year with injuries, had a season-high three blocks. Jason Smith was huge with eight points and five rebounds in 10 minutes. The question now becomes whether they can do it again and if that was a sign of more to come.
The bench will have one major change on Friday as Brandon Jennings will join the mix making his Wizards debut. He was signed as a free agent on Wednesday and, like Bogdanovic and Mahinmi just recently before him, will have to get acclimated quickly with only 23 games remaining in the season.
A lot on the line
By beating the Raptors in Toronto on Wednesday night, the Wizards have given themselves an opportunity to win the season series on Friday in the rematch as part of a back-to-back set. With another win, the Wizards will hold the tiebreaker between the teams at the end of the regular season. That could come in handy, given the Wizards are currently third in the East at 36-23, while the Raptors are in fourth at 36-25.
This game will have more importance than your average regular season matchup and players on both teams would admit it. With the playoffs now in focus just six weeks away, this is a big one.
How will Toronto respond?
The Wizards pulled out an impressive victory on Wednesday night on the road against the Raptors, just one day after they beat the Warriors at home. It was probably the best two-day stretch this team has had in a long time.
Not to take anything away from the Raptors, but Toronto was absolutely dreadful on Wednesday. They had only 11 assists as a team on 33 field goals made and shot 36.7 percent. You can bet they will be extra motivated to bounce back and not just because of the aforementioned stakes for this game. The Raptors gave an embarrassing effort for a team bound for the playoffs and this is their chance to right that wrong.