Rudy Gay has made a lasting impression in his 10 games played with the Toronto Raptors and aims to build on a strong performance Monday versus the Washington Wizards in the finale of a three-game homestand.
Acquired late last month from Memphis, Gay has averages of 21.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists with the Raptors and scored a season-best 32 points in Friday's 100-98 win over the New York Knicks. Gay netted 26 points in the second half. He also made two free throws and added a jumper to put Toronto up 93-89 late in the game.
DeMar DeRozan, who is averaging 17.9 ppg through 10 games in February, ended with 18 points and Kyle Lowry added 15 for Toronto, which is 7-3 this month and 6-1 in the past seven games.
"We just got aggressive," said Gay. "DeMar got it going and he helped me. We were just playing off each other."
The Raptors are 15-14 at Air Canada Centre and this will be their last homestand of three or more games. They earned their 23rd win of the season versus the Knicks, matching last season's win total, and are holding opponents to 92.9 points through 10 games this month.
After hosting the Wizards, Toronto will play five of six on the road, starting with Wednesday's matchup at Cleveland. Raptors guard Sebastian Telfair could make his debut Monday and was acquired from Phoenix at the trade deadline.
Raptors rookie and Slam Dunk champion Terrence Ross did not play Friday due to a stomach illness and is questionable versus Washington.
Washington will mix in a road game during its deluge of home affairs. It is in the midst of nine of 12 games slated for D.C., but the Wizards now get a chance to depart the nation's capital for a short period of time.
The Wizards won the last two tests of a recent three-game homestand, including Saturday's 105-103 edging of the Houston Rockets. Rookie Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 21 points and made a clutch free throw in the waning seconds. Emeka Okafor also came through from the foul line in the late stages and posted 17 points with 11 rebounds.
Trevor Ariza scored 18 points for Washington, which has won six of eight games and is 10-4 this season when scoring 100 points or more.
"That game took a lot out of me so I can only imagine the stress on the players, but we pulled this one out tonight," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "What we have done from a defensive standpoint made it even harder to adjust in the middle of a game."
Beal is averaging 20.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in his last five games, while Okafor has registered averages of 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds over that same span.
Washington is a dismal 4-22 away from home and 1-15 on the road against opponents from the Eastern Conference. It will return to the Verizon Center for a three-game homestand, beginning with Wednesday's tilt with Detroit.
The Wizards were recently dealt a 96-88 home loss to the Raptors on Feb. 19 and have lost four of the previous six contests in this series. Washington is winless in its last five trips north of the border.
These two teams will meet again on March 31 in Washington and April 3 at Toronto.