While Sunday’s contest against the Magic was never really in doubt, there were still plenty of nail-biting moments that revolved around the health of the Raptors. Norman Powell appeared to severely roll his ankle early in the game, but gutted it out and returned while Fred VanVleet had to leave the game with lower back tightness…but “could have played” had it been a playoff game. DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas were both given the night off and it would be a shock to see Kyle Lowry suit up for tonight’s game against Detroit.
It’s not ideal to play the second night of a back-to-back for your 81st game, especially when you’ve accomplished all you virtually can as a franchise, but here we are. Toronto’s only real incentive (and it is thinking WAY too far ahead) is to try and secure home court advantage over the Warriors…should they meet them in the Finals. Really, the focus should be on giving as many key players as much rest as possible while trying to iron out some minute details.
Detroit is (somehow) out of the playoff picture but still 25-15 at home this season. They’re on the second half of a back to back as well, mind you there Sunday game was played in the afternoon so they’ll have a bit more rest. There’s every chance we see a rag-tag group of individuals suiting up for the Pistons especially with Blake Griffin injured and Detroit having nothing to play for. I, like the rest of you, just want the playoffs to start but at the end of the day these games give us a fun look into some lesser-known players and lineups.
Things to Watch
JV @ Drummond
These two always have some good battles and JV is likely to play after being given Sunday night off and rocking a VERY dapper suit. His production and energy level has taken a big hit since his dominant run a month ago and a feisty matchup against the NBA’s leading rebounder might be exactly what he needs to get him into playoff mode.
Detroit’s rookie has been impressive with more run lately, including a strong performance in a brutal loss to the Grizzlies on Sunday. He’s one of the few bright spots left for the Pistons as they try to develop talent with their season done.
How Casey divvies up his minutes will be interesting. He’s repeatedly said that he’s not satisfied regardless of how well his team does in the regular season and that attitude carries over to “meaningless” games like tonight’s. Obviously he wants to (and should) give his starts some much deserved rest, but he also wants to carry a positive attitude into the playoffs.
How to Watch
Sportsnet One @ 7:00 PM.
Sportsnet 590 The Fan.
Toronto: Kyle Lowry (but probably not? stay tuned), DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Detroit:Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Andre Drummond, Stanley Johnson, Anthony Tolliver