Last night was one of the worst days of the 2016/17 season for the Toronto Raptors. It resulted in a players only meeting that focused on the team’s lack of effort, so all eyes will be on whether they bring “it” tonight.
The Raptors were dismantled by the one-man wrecking crew that is Russell Westbrook, but the good news is that that was yesterday, and today’s a new day.
It’s hard to point out anyone in particular because it was such a poor game all-around, but three-point shooting continues to be the Achilles’ heel of a Lowry-less and Ross-less Raptors. They shot 5/20 last night, getting outscored from beyond the arc by 27 by a team that ranks 24th in three-point makes, and 28th in three-point percentage.
The Raptors will hope to have aired out their grievances and put up a much better showing against a Detroit Pistons squad that’s in the thick of the playoff race. Currently tied with a Miami Heat squad that have turned their season around, the Pistons are playing the second of a three-game home stand before a four-game road trip.
The Pistons handed the Raptors one of their worst home-court losses on Feb. 12, rallying back from 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter, so the good guys should be intent on payback.
The game tips off at 7:30 on Sportsnet One and TSN 1050. You can check out the full game preview here.
Dwane Casey made it seem Thursday night as if changes to the starting lineup or the rotation could be coming. He’s unlikely to tip his hand until he has to, so check back before tip-off for an update. For now, we can only assume business as usual, and with nobody sidelined other than Kyle Lowry, there’s little in the way of updates. Speculation, however, is welcome until we hear the starters.
PG: Cory Joseph, Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell
SF: DeMarre Carroll, P.J. Tucker, Bruno Caboclo
PF: Serge Ibaka, Patrick Patterson, Pascal Siakam
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira
OUT: Kyle Lowry
The Pistons have been juggling the starting power forward spot a bit, with Jon Leuer drawing the start ahead of Tobias Harris on Wednesday. Other than that, there aren’t a lot of question marks here, especially now that Reggie Jackson is secure in the starting point guard slot once again.
Ish Smith was a major factor in the Pistons comeback the last time these two teams met, and had some good games against the Raptors a season ago when playing for the Sixers as well. Either way, Cory Joseph, Delon Wright, and Fred VanVleet will just be relieved to not be facing Russell Westbrook.
PG: Reggie Jackson, Ish Smith, Beno Udrih
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Darrun Hilliard, Reggie Bullock
SF: Marcus Morris, Stanley Johnson, Michael Gbinije
PF:Jon Leuer, Tobias Harris
C: Andre Drummond, Aron Baynes, Boban Marjanovic
ASSIGNED: Henry Ellenson
- The trade deadline edition of Open Gym contains a clip of Jonas Valanciunas thanking Masai Ujiri for not trading him for Andre Drummond. It will be interesting to see how that matchup plays out tonight.
- Looks like Jack Armstrong will be covering the game tonight with Matt Devlin. Fitting on St. Patrick’s Day. Expect plenty of singing.
- Toronto was outscored 17-1 in second-chance points last night, and will have their work cut out for them in the face of Andre Drummond.
The Raptors are +3.5 underdogs against the Pistons tonight. The over/under is at 202.