Pistons vs. Raptors Game Preview - Dec. 11, 2010
The Raptors attempt to end a four-game losing streak by continuing their success against the struggling Pistons on Saturday night.
Toronto (8-15) dominated the Pistons (7-17) in sweeping all four meetings last season by an average of 15.5 points, matching its win total from the previous 18 matchups. The Raptors outscored Detroit by an average of 22.0 points in their two visits to The Palace of Auburn Hills.
They may have trouble matching that success this season, considering they are 2-9 as the visitor while giving up an average of 108.9 points.
Toronto's overall slide reached four with Friday's 123-116 home loss to Denver, which was without star forward Carmelo Anthony due to a knee injury.
"We can't play defense for half a game," coach Jay Triano said after the Raptors gave up 74 points in the first half. "I thought in the second half we attempted it and that's all I ask of our guys."
The Raptors are struggling defensively over the last four games, allowing an average of 119.0 points with opponents shooting 52.1 percent from the floor and 45.0 from 3-point range.
Andrea Bargnani is trying to do his part to spark the Toronto offensively. The center leads the Raptors with 21.3 points per game, and scored 24 Friday after setting a career high with 41 in a 113-110 loss at New York two nights prior.
He averaged 23.0 points against the Pistons last season, getting 33 in a 111-97 win at Detroit on April 12.
The Pistons have split 10 games at home, but they've dropped seven of eight overall and are coming off an 0-3 trip that saw them average 85.3 points while making 39.1 percent of their shots - 28.6 from beyond the arc.
They shot 39.6 percent against Toronto last season and may have trouble with Bargnani again after getting outscored 58-26 in the paint during Friday's 109-99 loss at Minnesota.
Coach John Kuester, though, was pleased with his team's effort.
"Truthfully, I thought we played well," Kuester said. "It gets down to making sure we become more cognizant of managing certain situations. The basketball didn't go the way we did."
Richard Hamilton will try to build on his 26-point performance against the Timberwolves after totaling 19 points over the previous two games, getting ejected from one of them.
The swingman, the league leader with three ejections, is averaging 17.4 points in nine home games - nearly four above his overall average. He missed three of four games against Toronto last season and struggled in the other, shooting 6 of 20 and scoring 15 points in a 102-95 road defeat Dec. 27.
Hamilton is averaging 19.9 points in his last 11 home matchups with the Raptors, helping Detroit to wins in all of them.