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Real marquee matchup: Bradley Beal, Wizards need to contain Pascal Siakam, Raptors' three-point shooting

Real marquee matchup: Bradley Beal, Wizards need to contain Pascal Siakam, Raptors' three-point shooting

The two main, overarching reasons why the Toronto Raptors have remained as good as they are even after losing Kawhi Leonard in free agency are their defense and their three-point shooting. The continued development of Pascal Siakam into a budding star has received most of the acclaim, but as a collective, those two areas are what make the Raptors tick.

Toronto is second in the NBA in defensive rating (104.5) and fifth in points allowed (105.6). They also give up the second-lowest field goal percentage (42.6) in the league.

The three-point line, though, is where the focus should be on Friday night as the Wizards battle the Raptors in Toronto (7 pm on NBC Sports Washington) for the second time this season. Because in the Wizards, the Raptors will aim to take advantage of a team that struggles defending the perimeter. Washington is 23rd among NBA teams in opponent three-point percentage (36.5) and 19th in threes allowed (12.1). 

The Wizards will have their hands full with a multitude of Raptors shooters. Siakam knocks down 39.1 percent of his threes on 6.2 attempts per game. Norman Powell is a 40.8 percent three-point shooter, averaging 4.9 attempts.

OG Anunoby shoots 38.1 percent on 3.8 attempts per game. Kyle Lowry attempts 8.9 threes per game and makes 35.3 percent. Fred VanVleet hits 37.2 percent on 6.9 attempts. VanVleet, though, is questionable for the game with a hamstring injury.

Those are five players who are dangerous from three and that's not the end of the list. They also have Marc Gasol making 37 percent of his 3.3 attempts per game. Terence Davis shoots 38.6 percent and Serge Ibaka hits on 37.3 percent. There's also Matt Thomas, who has made 46.5 percent of his threes, albeit in a small sample size.

The Raptors can legitimately form a full rotation of players who make threes. It gives them options for multiple lineups where everyone on the floor can shoot.

The onus will be on the Wizards' guards like Isaiah Thomas, Ish Smith, Bradley Beal and Jordan McRae, but also some of their bigs. Ian Mahinmi and Thomas Bryant may have to trail Gasol and Ibaka to the perimeter. Few teams can create space with matchup problems quite like Toronto can.

The first meeting between these teams resulted in a Wizards loss, back on Dec. 20. And in that game, the Wizards were able to hold the Raptors under their season average in terms of attempts. They took 30 threes when they average 36 per game.

But the Raptors shot 40 percent on those attempts, going 12-for-30. They spread it around in that game, too, with seven different players making at least one.

Three-point defense is always important in today's NBA, but even more than usual against the Raptors. It isn't a strength for the Wizards, but they will have to overcome that to pull out a victory.

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How to watch Wizards vs. Bulls Wire to Wire broadcast

How to watch Wizards vs. Bulls Wire to Wire broadcast

The Wizards head to the Bay Area to take on the Golden State Warriors. Before that, fans can enjoy inside NBA access in the debut of 'NBC Sports Wire to Wire'.

'NBC Sports Wire to Wire' will debut Sunday, Mar. 1, at 6:30 p.m. and feature a one-hour condensed game of the Wizards matchup with the Bulls from mid-January. The twist is players and coaches on both sides were mic'd up during the game. 

Ish Smith, Moe Wagner, and Scott Brooks are featured from the Wizards side, while you'll be able to hear Coby White, coach Jim Boylen and former Wizard Tomas Satoransky as well. The broadcast will deliver a mix of on-court audio and sit-down interviews. 

The Wizards fell to the Bulls 115-106 in the game in question. In a head-to-head matchup between two eventual All-Star snubs, Zach LaVine got the best of Bradley Beal, scoring 30 points on 12-21 shooting to get his team the win. 

If you recall, Beal questioned the Wizards' culture after his team dropped what he called a 'winnable game.' Since then, the Wizards are 7-6 and before the All-Star break, were playing some of their best basketball.

Beal has also been exceptional since Washington's last loss in Chicago, so perhaps there's a bit more insight into what went on that game that one, caused Beal to call out his team after the game, and two, sparked one of the best runs of play for the Wizards all year. 

So remember 6:30 p.m. on Sunday before the Wizards-Warriors game. And if you aren't able to catch it the first time, the special will be re-air later Sunday evening at 11:30 p.m.

Here's everything you need to know to tune into the game Sunday and how to watch the Wire to Wire broadcast afterward. 

WIZARDS vs. WARRIORS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Golden State Warriors 

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA

When: Sunday, Mar. 1, 2020, at 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Warriors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Warriors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. WARRIORS TV SCHEDULE

6:30 PM: Wire to Wire: Wizards vs Bulls

7:30 PM: Wizards Outsiders

8:00 PM: Wizards Pregame Live

8:30 PM: Washington Wizards vs. Golden State Warriors

11:00 PM: Wizards Postgame Live

11:30 PM: Wire to Wire: Wizards @ Bulls

WIZARDS vs. WARRIORS INJURY REPORT

Wizards: John Wall (OUT/Achilles), Thomas Bryant (OUT/foot)

Warriors: Marquese Chriss (Day-to-day/calf), Draymond Green (Day-to-day/hip), Steph Curry (Day-to-day/hand), Klay Thompson (OUT/knee)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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NBA Power Rankings: The playoff push begins

NBA Power Rankings: The playoff push begins

The All-Star break has come and gone, teams have their rosters pretty much figured out by now and it's time to start jostling for playoff seeding. 

Who has the edge? Who needs to make a push right now? Who's in danger of a late-season slide?

We'll answer those questions now with about a quarter of the 2019-20 season still to be played. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY

Last week: 30

Steph Curry is on the brink of a return from a broken hand he suffered in October. But until he comes back, the Warriors remain the worst team in basketball. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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