After a tough loss last night to the Pacers, look for the Toronto Raptors to come out aggressive and show that their two straight losses to the Heat and Pacers aren’t burdening them mentally.
In both losses the Raptors played well, but they just couldn’t keep up in the end. I’m going to give the Raptors some slack, because the Heat and Pacers are far and away the best teams in the East.
It does show that the Toronto Raptors are not quite there, although the team looks as if it is on the precipice of making the jump into contention. While the East is astoundingly weak, the Raptors have a good opportunity to showcase that they belong in a conversation that starts and ends with the Pacers and Heat at present.
Toronto Raptors (16-17) vs Detroit Pistons (14-21)
Game Time: 7:00 pm
TV: Sportsnet Ontario
Radio: Sportsnet 590
Live Stream: League Pass
In come the Detroit Pistons, a team stacked full of talent but whose make-up is detrimental to the team’s success. While the Pistons were able to pick up Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings over the off-season, their talent has not been able to lift the Pistons in a meaningful way.
Jennings is still an inefficient scorer and turnover prone while Smith has reverted back to his early Hawks form by stepping out to the 3-point line with abandon. Smith is one of the most athletic players in the league, but when combined with the stellar front-court of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, his efficacy drops alarmingly.
After last night’s cringe-worthy performances, both Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson will have to pick up their game against the imposing Pistons. Of particular importance is the match-up of Valanciunas and Drummond, two tantalizing talents who give their teams hope for brighter days ahead.
Look for Demar Derozan to keep up his high scoring output, and for Kyle Lowry to rebound from a game in which he had just two assists. The Toronto Raptors will also look to Terrence Ross to get open for corner-three’s. Patrick Patterson, fresh off a 20 point game last night, will continue to provide an offensive spark off the bench.
I can easily see the Toronto Raptors blowing out the Pistons by 15+, but I think it will be closer than that.
Prediction: Toronto Raptors win 107-102