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Wiz and Raptors

The last time Toronto came to town, on Dec. 1, Chris Bosh was out with a groin injury and the Wizards won 101-97. Tonight, Bosh will be in the lineup, and lately, he's been rolling. He's coming off a 32-point game in a blowout win over Milwaukee and is averaging 30 points and 9.6 rebounds in the last eight games, so the Wiz will need it from Brendan Haywood and Andray Blatche tonight.

Andrea Bargnani hasn't done much. He's putting up 9.1 ppg and 3.5 rebounds and Raptors Coach Sam Mitchell has been steadily having to defend last year's No. 1 overall pick to the Toronto scribes.

Bargnani tends to float around the perimeter too much and has never been called physical but Mitchell, who was one of my favorite players when he played with T-Wolves because he never hesitated to throw his body around, thinks that Bargnani is just going through the usual process of learning how to play in the NBA.

"Andrea's got to learn and he's not going to learn sitting over there with me," Mitchell told the Toronto Star. "Andrea's got to find out who and what he is. He's one of the guys that is the future of this franchise. We wouldn't have taken him No. 1 if he wasn't."

Not saying that Bargnani is the next Kwame Brown but didn't folks same the same kinds of things about the bigt KB a few years ago? Anyway, this game tonight and tomorrow's tilt in Toronto could be huge. The Raptors (24-19) lead the Wiz (23-19) by a half game in the East standings and the Wiz have a brutal stretch coming up.

One thing I'm very curious to see is how the Wiz handle Raps PG Jose Calderon and their big men on the pick-and-roll. Calderon is as good as any PG in the league at rolling off a high screen and deciding what to do next and yes, I'm including Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd etc. in that list. The guy can really play and since T.J. Ford went down after Al Horford hit him with that pork chop across the head, Calderon has been playing excellent ball. Strap 'em on tight Antonio Daniels.......

By Ivan Carter  |  January 29, 2008; 4:40 PM ET
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