Tonight, the Wizards and Raptors face off in Toronto. The winner will take brief control of 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards are coming off a hard-fought win against the Warriors last night. The Raptors are back home with a day of rest after fighting back to a receive a one-point victory over the Knicks. Raptors will be without PG Kyle Lowry for a month due to right wrist surgery but with new acquisition Serge Ibaka has stepped into the offense well enough to be a 2nd scoring option in Lowry’s place. Ibaka has averaged 16 points per game in his 3 games so far with the team. That would be a slight boost from the 15.1 ppg he was averaging up until All-Star weekend when he was traded.Demar Derozan has had no trouble accepting an even larger role in the offense averaging 37.6 ppg shooting almost 54 percent from the field since the All-Star game. The Wizards may be one of the hottest teams in the league right now but 15 of their 23 total losses have come on the road. The Raptors will find a way to get the job done in a close contest to retain the 3rd seed momentarily.
Deron Williams makes his Cavs debut tonight as the Cleveland Cavaliers face off versus the falling Boston Celtics in the TD Garden. Lebron is already confident thatWilliams can be that playmaker he’s been hoping Cavs officials would add to the roster. Deron Williams won’t be much help for the Cavs tonight though as he attempts to work out the kinks to his new role on his new team. On the other hand, Derrick Williams should have a good game tonight as he has been playing well as a high-energy type player since signing with the team on February 9th. Cleveland is 8-2 in their previous 10 games and are seeming to have hit a stride at the perfect time with the playoffs just a little over a month away. The Celtics on the other hand have been slipping since the All-Star break losing 2 of their previous 3 games. Isaiah Thomas has been playing like an MVP candidate all season long although had an off night on Monday versus the Atlanta Hawks. Thomas’ franchise-record long streak of 43 consecutive 20-point games came to an end as the Celtics’ All-Star scored only 19 points on 4/21 shooting.Tonight he will look to lead the Celtics to a victory that can assist the team in hitting their own stride entering the playoffs although they will fall just short tonight in a shootout regardless of their reputation of being the best 4th quarter team this season. The Cavs have shown since last season’s Finals that they are built to overcome late game situations and win games when they really matter. The Celtics meanwhile, have shown all season long that they still are not able to defeat Lebron and the Cavs especially if they meet in the playoffs. Every game from here on will matter for the Cavs if they want to create a more comfortable lead in the Eastern Conference. From here, the Celtics need to figure out a way to get back into their fight for the top spot of the East and how to beat the Cavs in order to officially claim the East as theirs.