This story has been updated.
For a team like the Wizards, when you have your opponent on the ropes, you better put them away.
Wins are too difficult to come by in the NBA, and after Washington blew an 18-point fourth-quarter lead against the lowly Bulls Wednesday night, they're going to have a very difficult time rebounding as they visit the Raptors on Friday.
The Raptors may have lost Kawhi Leonard over the summer and re no longer title contenders, but they're a very good team that should realistically dominate both ends of the floor against the Wizards.
They rank third in the NBA in defense and 12th in offense (6th NET RTG) and have sustained great two-way efficiency despite a myriad of injuries to their main rotation.
The Raptors are an incredibly disciplined and well-rounded team that should win easily against a young and inexperienced group like the Wizards. Here's a look at who to watch from a short-handed Toronto team:
At this stage in his career, Kyle Lowry is the type of player the Raptors can trust to make the right play almost every time down the floor and keep defenses honest by hitting perimeter jumpers using screens.
But he's always been a threat to get hot and bury you with a barrage of difficult triples off the dribble. So if his shot isn't falling you have a good chance at limiting the rest of Toronto's offense. But if he gets it going, he can put 25-to-30 points on you in a hurry, against good defense or not.
The Wizards' issues on defense are well-documented. They're 28th in the NBA in defending the paint, 27th in opponent three-point percentage and 27th in defensive rebound percentage.
They don't defend the paint or three-point line well, and even if they can generate a miss the Wizards struggle to corral the possession-ending rebound.
For reference, the Raptors are third in the NBA in three-point percentage, 25th in offensive rebound percentage and 22nd in the percentage of points they score in the paint.
So while Toronto isn't built to beat a team like the Wizards, they're highly functional in all aspects and could easily see an uptick in production in the paint and on the offensive glass while playing on their home floor.
Ibaka is expected to take an increased role in Gasol's absence. The veteran center is averaging 13.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game this season. He had a season-high 25 points off the bench in Toronto's Wednesday night win after Gasol left with a hamstring injury. He also added 13 rebounds, two assists and a steal in that game.
Another player who might have a bigger role with the Raptors' rash of injuries, Boucher is averaging 5.1 points per game in just over 11.4 minutes per game this season but coach Nick Nurse has talked about finding him more minutes. A quick scouting report from the Toronto Star on him:
Boucher's unique skills, though unproven and untested over any kind of regular role, should be of great help to the Raptors. He's six-foot-nine with deep shooting range and quickness. He's certainly not "big" in any physical sense - listed at 200 pounds - but he does have a knack for blocking shots.
"He's blocking shots. He seems to always stick a three and maybe a putback," Nurse said. "I like the energy and what he is doing out there. I guess maybe an expanded role is how I should put it. He just needs more minutes and again, there are not a lot of those there."
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Update: Toronto without Siakam in Wizards' game vs. Toronto originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington