Raps' sked gets strange

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

Rasho Nesterovic has seen just about everything the NBA has to offer.

But the 10-year veteran admits he never has seen a back-to-back set against the same opponent.

In one of those scheduling oddities, the Raptors will play the Washington Wizards in a home-and-home series beginning tonight in D.C.

"This is a new experience for me, so I don't know what to expect," the gentle giant from Slovenia said. "The most important thing for us is to play as well as we can. You can put a lot of pressure by winning that first game."

As odd as the back-to-back appears, even odder will be the calibre of foes that await the Raptors in February.

Toronto's 12-game dance card for the month features only three teams currently above the .500 mark.

For now, the focus is on the Wizards.

"This is like the playoffs,'' Nesterovic said.

"We might be playing these guys again and we have to make a statement."

HISTORY LESSON

The Raptors will get an up-close look in the next two days at Antawn Jamison, who was originally drafted by Toronto in 1998. Jamison, who was taken fourth overall, was immediately dealt for friend and North Carolina teammate Vince Carter, whom the Golden State Warriors selected with the fifth overall pick. The draft-slot change allowed the then-penny pinching Raptors to save money and were able to build their own practice facility.

STARS LINING UP

Coaches had until yesterday to submit their list of all-star reserves for the Feb. 17 showcase in New Orleans. The seven reserves for each team will be announced on Thursday.

Washington's Caron Butler, who was named by the coaches last year, and Toronto's Chris Bosh seem to be locks. Raptors point guard Jose Calderon is also being considered by coaches, who, for obvious reasons, aren't allowed to vote for their own player.


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