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What to watch for in Raptors-Wizards matchup

The Toronto Raptors will look to win their second game in a row on Sunday against a Wizards team that's finding itself on the defensive end. Follow Yahoo Sports Canada for all your Raptors coverage.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Let's a move into the game on Sunday. What are some things that you're looking for against the Raptors in match-up number three?

CHASE HUGHES: Well. I think, first of all, you know, when two teams are tied 1-1 and they're both in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, certainly the season series is something to watch. You know, whoever wins this game is going to take a lead in that regard and, you know, that might come in handy. If you take a 3-1 advantage in the season series and you tie with the same record at the end of the season then it'll help you with playoff seeding. Might give you a home court, we'll see.

But in terms of that game specifically, I would say turnovers. You know, the Raptors are really good at winning the turnover battle on both ends of the floor and they're really good at turning turnovers into points. And the Wizards at the beginning of the season were really good at protecting the ball, but they've had a lot of trouble with that lately and some of their losses have been directly tied to them just turning the ball over and the other team taking advantage.

So, I don't think they're going to want to-- I think they're going to be in trouble if they turn the ball over and they let the Raptors get out in transition. And I don't think they've played Pascal Siakam yet. He was hurt earlier in the year, I know, so we'll see what the personnel looks like comparative to the previous games, but that's the thing that I'll be watching most is the turnover battle.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, that's a big one. That's something that the Raptors really try and enforce is creating turnovers and getting out in transition. I'm curious how Daniel Gafford influences this match-up. You mentioned his rim protection has been a problem. It was a problem against the Raptors in game 2. Well, did he play in both games? I think you did.

CHASE HUGHES: I believe he did, yeah.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, he did. So, that was a huge issue, right? And the Raptors have struggled a little bit finishing around the rim. Pascal Siakam, they're still figuring out their spacing. Their spacing has been a bit of a problem over the past-- well, all season to some degree-- but moving Scotty Barnes more to the 3-point line and he's actually hitting shots from out there.

It's really opened the floor and so I'm curious how the Wizards countered that. Because, you know, before, Scotty Barnes, he was like on the block, he was in the dunker spot. Now he's out at the line and he's had, like, I think, nine or 10 3's over his past three games and that's been a huge difference maker.

And then, how are they going to approach that pick and roll with Fred VanVleet because they do a little bit of a drop coverage and Fred loves drop coverage. He feasts on it he, eats on it. He's gotten 20 points per game when those situations are emerging for him. And so I'm curious how they approach it on that side. And then for the Raptors defensively, I mean, Gafford has been a problem for them. His size is just overwhelming.

And, you know, Khem Birch-- I don't think Khem Birch is going to be ready for Sunday. And the Raptors' size overall, they're small in the sense of not having seven-footers, but they have a lot of 6'8", obviously, so their team rebounding was a lot better yesterday against the Bucks, but that does require everyone to be kind of locked into that side of the ball. They're one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the NBA. Although, by contrast, they are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the NBA so that battle is another thing I'm very curious about how that goes.

CHASE HUGHES: Well, first of all, Scotty Barnes, I've been really impressed with seeing him in person. We saw him in the preseason and then, you know, again in the regular season. He's huge for a guy who, you know, is listed at 6'8", 6'9". I mean, he's super built for a rookie and just his feel for the game stands out so much. You guys got a terrific player up there in Toronto. I think he's going to be a true star.

Fred VanVleet has killed the Wizards for many, many years. You know, the Wizards are a better perimeter defensive team than they have been. But guys like Spencer Dinwiddie-- Howell Neto I think, you know, can match up with him pretty well physically. A lots going to fall on them. I wonder if, you know, maybe they switch Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on to him KCP had a lot of success against Ja Morant who's a smaller player and, obviously, an extremely athletic player, very quick. KCP did a terrific job just sort of directing him into traffic. So maybe he's someone who could have some success.

Daniel Gafford, of course, is going to be a key to this game. You know, he's played well against the Raptors, as you mentioned. And I think it's one of the few opportunities where the Wizards can take advantage of their size against an opposing team because, you know, you mentioned the size of the Raptors. They don't have a single player over 6'9". Well, the Wizards don't have a single player over 6'10".

You know, we've seen them get into some trouble against players like Jonas Valanciunas giving them a lot of trouble. They had some success against Giannis, Steven Adams, some others, so it's been a little inconsistent, but that's something I'm going to watch throughout this season. You know, what happens when they play Joel Embiid, for instance?

But against the Raptors they have the advantage. And Daniel Gafford, you know, generally the Wizards, I think, overwhelm teams with their quickness at that position and then also their size at other positions, because like Danny Abdi and Kyle Kuzma can play the three and they're 6'9", 6'10". Davis Bertans is also 6'10". He can play the three. Spencer Dinwiddie is a big point guard. He's 6'5", 6'6". He's very large for that position.

But Daniel Gafford is going to be the biggest guy on the floor and he's very, very athletic so I think the Wizards need to make sure that they prevent the Raptors from getting offensive rebounds because that's also been a problem for them recently-- second chance points and offensive rebounds. The Wizards are a really good defensive rebounding team, but they just haven't been as consistent at it lately. So that's one area of the game that I'll certainly be watching when it comes to Daniel Gafford.

AMIT MANN: And some teams have tried putting bigger players on Fred recently, actually-- small forwards. So KCP, a Kyle Kuzma, for instance, those could be things that does emerge for Fred. And now with the Raptors, like, they're still kind of trying to get their footing here in the Eastern Conference game by game.

They've got two good defensive games in a row and if you've been following this season that has-- that's actually a pretty good thing because we have not seen that throughout this season at any point, really, outside of a five game stretch where Ken Burch was here and Ken Burch is obviously not with us right now because of his knee swelling and we don't really know when he's going to be returning, so it's going to be a challenge.

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