Tonight, the Detroit Pistons (6-6) take on one of the best teams in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors (12-2), at 7:30pm EST / 4:30 PST.
After winning six consecutive games the Raptors ran into a streaking Pelicans team on Monday night losing 126-110. Developing two-way star Pascal Siakim scored a team-high twenty two points while Kawhi Leonard pitched in twenty points and Kyle Lowry had a team-high eleven assists.
Pistons Coach Dwayne Casey will return to Toronto for the first time since being fired over the summer. Last year Casey coached the Raptors to a franchise-best 59 regular season wins while earning the NBA Coach of the Year Award.
“It will be different being on that side, and I would be disingenuous to say it’s not going to feel funny,” Casey told the Toronto Globe and Mail from Detroit in a telephone interview. “Any human being worth his salt knows it’ll be a different feeling, a funny feeling. But I think once the game starts and they throw it up, it will be one of 82. And I’m sure it’s going to be the same for the players from the other side too.”
Kyle Lowry who had spent his entire Raptor tenure under Coach Casey until this year says he is looking forward to beating his former coach.
“I had an opportunity to play under him for six years and got to know him really well,” Lowry said Tuesday. “It’s going to be different, but, hey, listen, I’m still going to try to take his team’s head off and win the game.”
As a team, the Raptors do a great job of forcing turnovers ( ranked 6th in steals) and making teams pay for their them. This year the Raptors average 18.9 points off turnovers while scoring the third most fast break points, 20 points per game. The Raptors also they have the third best offensive rating while averaging the sixth most points per game in the paint. Simply put, this will be a hard game for the Pistons to win.
The Pistons are coming off a 113-103 loss to the Charlotte Hornets where the Pistons shot only thirty six percent from the field and twenty seven percent from downtown. Andre Drummond had another monster double-double with twenty three points and twenty rebounds. Blake Griffin struggled all night, hitting only four of sixteen shots with +/- of -19 in thirty minutes of play.
In order for the Pistons to have a chance tonight it is crucial that they slow the pace of this game down. This will help the Pistons, in theory, by limiting their turnovers and thus decreasing fast break opportunities for the Raptors. And this will allow Griffin and Drummond more time to get set up and operate down low. The Raptors wings and guards are amazing at defense but their front court is vulnerable. The Raptors allow the sixth most points in the paint. Therefore, Griffin and Drummond will need to bang down low and clear the glass.
Injuries: Pistons Luke Kennard (shoulder) is out (shoulder) and Raptors C.J. Miles (adductor) and Norman Powell (shoulder) are out.
Probable Starting Lineups
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Reggie Bullock
SF: Glenn Robinson III
PF: Blake Griffin
C: Andre Drummond
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Serge Ibaka
Featured Image: Michael Reaves / Getty Images