Red-hot Raps look for fourth straight win
The Toronto Raptors take the court at the ACC against the Detroit Pistons tonight in the second night of a back to back for the Raptors.The Raptors, who were down on their luck and looked well onto their way to a top three pick in the upcoming draft, surprised the league by picking up three consecutive wins after losing two of their top players. The Raptors have held opponents to just 89.6 PPG and have scored 103.6 PGG over the stretch. It seems as if something as clicked in this Dwane Casey coached team, a coach who stresses defence. The key for them will be a healthy Kyle Lowry, who is a very good defender when healthy, and somehow incorporating Andrea Bargnani.
Pistons having rough December
The Pistons had started out the season 5-12, which is not impressive(unless your the Raptors), but certainly was par for the course for them. They have a young team and will probably take another season or two to really form into a playoff team. With two future all-stars in Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight, and a player with huge potential in Andre Drummond, the future is bright for the Pistons. Unfortunately, the Pistons have slid down in the standings, only winning two of their last ten. Of those ten, one-hundred points has only been reached three times by the Pistons. The Raptors will need to play the defence we've seen from them recently to get a win. The Pistons aren't to be taken lightly, despite their poor record.
Drummond vs Ross?
Tonight we see round two of the eighth and ninth overall picks of the past draft. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo caught a lot of heat for the questionable choosing of Terrence Ross, a jump shooting guard, over Andre Drummond, who was slated to be the number one pick in that draft before he had a lackluster season at UConn. Many people felt that the Raptors didn't need another jump shooter and would have preferred to take the chance with Drummond. At this point that argument is still up in the air but Drummond has looked impressive. Averaging 6.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game and over a block a game in just eighteen and a half minutes. Ross has shown bright spots, but his shot has been hot and cold. If he can raise those shooting percentages (39% from the field and 28% from downtown) he should be able to carve out a nice spot in the rotation. I will give him credit for his defence and athleticism, both have been spectacular so far.
Raptors bench getting it done
The Raptors bench has been coming up when it counts during the winning streak. They've scored 161 points of the 311 scored by the team. That's an excellent average of 50 points a game for the bench. The Raptors need that production to continue winning given that two of their big scorers are out for the next little while. Alan Anderson has led the way, averaging 14.6 points off the bench during the stretch, despite going 0-8 in the win over the Mavs.
Game notes of interest
- This is the second meeting between these two teams this season. The Pistons won the first game 91-90.
- After not playing last game despite being dressed, I'd expect to see Landry Fields tonight.
- The Raptors haven't won four in a row since last November.
Projected Starting Lineups
Toronto Raptors Detroit Pistons
PG- Jose Calderon PG- Brandon Knight
SG- Demar DeRozan SG- Kyle Singler
SF- Mickael Pietrus SF- Tayshaun Prince
PF- Ed Davis PF- Jason Maxiell
C- Jonas Valanciunas C- Greg Monroe