The Washington Wizards will be keen to build on last season’s playoff appearance when they face the Toronto Raptors in their 2021 NBA opener at the Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday. Toronto found the previous campaign a chore, finishing 27-45, but the Raptors have a psychological advantage after besting the Wizards 113-108 in a preseason clash on Tuesday.
The Raptors got strong performances from Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr. and Goran Dragic, but head coach Nick Nurse will count more on the return of Fred VanVleet to give his team the winning edge. Meanwhile, the Wizards enter the game eager to prove they can thrive without Russell Westbrook, who is now plying his trade with the Los Angeles Lakers after an offseason trade.
The game (7:30 p.m. ET start time) will be televised on NBC Sports Washington for those who live in the Wizards market and TSN for those in Canada. It will also stream live on NBA League Pass for everyone out of market in the United States.
Here’s a full rundown of how you can watch a live stream of the Wizards vs Raptors in the US, with your options depending on where you live:
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If You Live in the Wizards Market
You can watch a live stream of NBC Sports Washington (live in local markets) and 100-plus other live TV channels (TNT not included) on FuboTV, which comes with a free seven-day trial:
Once signed up for FuboTV, you can watch the Wizards vs Raptors live on the FuboTV app, which is available on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One or Series X/S, Samsung TV, LG TV, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet. Or you can watch on your computer via the FuboTV website.
If you can’t watch live, FuboTV also comes with 250 hours of cloud DVR space, as well as a 72-hour look-back feature, which allows you to watch most games on-demand within three days of their conclusion, even if you don’t record them.
DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV) has four different channel packages: “Entertainment,” “Choice,” “Ultimate” and “Premier.” NBC Sports Washington (live in local markets) is included in “Choice” and up.
You can sign up right here:
Once signed up for DirecTV Stream, you can watch the Wizards vs Raptors live on the DirecTV Stream app, which is available on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Samsung TV, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet. Or you can watch on your computer via the DirecTV Stream website.
If you can’t watch live, DirecTV Stream also comes with 20 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to 500 hours).
If You Live Outside the Wizards Market
Note: This is ultimately the same as regular NBA League Pass (more info on that below), but with this option you’ll be able to watch games on the Amazon app, which tends to be available on more devices than the NBA app
Amazon Prime subscribers (Prime comes with a 30-day free trial) can watch every out-of-market NBA game via Prime Channels. You can try both Amazon Prime and the NBA League Pass channel at no cost with a free trial:
Once you’re signed up for the Prime NBA League Pass channel, out-of-market viewers can watch the Wizards vs Raptors live or on-demand on the Amazon Video app, which is available on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), Xbox One or Series X/S, PlayStation 4 or 5, various smart TV’s, Xiaomi, Echo Show or Echo Spot, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
You can also watch on your computer via the Amazon website.
Again, this is mostly the same as the Amazon Prime option above, with the big difference being you’ll watch on NBA’s platforms rather than Amazon’s:
Once signed up for NBA League Pass, out-of-market viewers can watch the Wizards vs Raptors live or on-demand on the NBA app, which is available on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or 5, iPhone, Android phone, iPad, Android tablet or other compatible device.
You can also watch on your computer via the NBA website.
Wizards vs Raptors Preview
Westbrook’s no longer in the lineup, but the Wizards still have Bradley Beal. He was in prolific form last term, registering 31.3 points per game. The skilled guard also posted an impressive 48.5 percent rate shooting from the field. This team is now built around Beal’s talents, and the Wizards will only go as far as the 28-year-old can take them.
Fortunately for Washington, Beal has still been able to participate in practice, despite dealing with a knee injury, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports. Hughes also reported how power forward Rui Hachimura, who is entering a contract year, has been cleared to play following Covid-19 protocol.
Beal and Hachimura are expected to be key figures, but coach Wes Unseld Jr. will also need Spencer Dinwiddie to make a fast start to his Wizards career. Dinwiddie arrived from the Brooklyn Nets during free agency, but the experienced point guard may struggle to meet expectations after tearing his ACL against the Charlotte Hornets last December. If he justifies the two second-round picks the Wizards dealt as part of the sign-and-trade deal with Brooklyn, Washington will be well placed to earn another playoff spot.
The squad also looks strong enough to again make a push for the postseason thanks to greater strength in depth. Westbrook’s complex trade brought Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell over from Los Angeles. Of the three, Kuzma could make the biggest impact as a power forward who averaged over 15 points during four years with the Lakers.
One youngster on the Wizards roster to keep an eye on is 20-year-old shooting guard Deni Avdija. He showed promise as a rookie last season by averaging 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Getting him more minutes this year should be a priority for Unseld Jr.
Staying strong defensively will be helped by having the recently re-upped Daniel Gafford at center. He signed a three-year contract extension worth $40 million on Monday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Gafford’s primary responsibility will be to keep VanVleet under wraps. It won’t be easy because the 27-year-old averaged 19.6 points per game in 2020, an improvement on the already solid 17.6 he managed a year earlier. VanVleet’s career is on an upward trajectory and his proficiency from the three-point line should help push him over the 20 points per game barrier.
It will also help VanVleet is now officially the main man in Nurse’s lineup after Kyle Lowry signed with the Miami Heat back in August. Replacing Lowry’s all-round skills won’t be easy, but VanVleet will manage it if Dragic chips in with his share of points. The veteran plundered 16 points, four rebounds and a pair of assists when the Raptors won in preseason. He’s 35, but Dragic has a key role to play supporting VanVleet.
The Raptors have some outstanding individuals, but Washington’s roster is more loaded and should start with a win.