Game Preview: Raptors vs. Pistons
Detroit Pistons (28-31) @ Toronto Raptors (41-17)
When: Monday, February 26, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: SN1, SN590
The Raptors last saw the Pistons in mid-January, earning a 96-91 victory in Toronto behind a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double from Jonas Valanciunas. Toronto entered the game having lost their previous two games and wanted desperately to avoid dropping three straight. The Raptors got off to a strong start, but allowed the Pistons to keep things close, and the game was tied heading into the fourth. Toronto's defence held Detroit to just 18 points in the final quarter as they held on for the victory thanks to 18 points from Kyle Lowry and 17 from DeMar DeRozan. The Pistons were led by Andre Drummond's 25 points and 17 rebounds in the loss.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: The Raptors injury report is clear. For the Pistons, Reggie Jackson (right ankle sprain) and Jon Leuer (left ankle surgery) will be out.
Looking for the bounce-back: Toronto would love to get back on track with a win following a frustrating overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. Though a last-second dunk at the buzzer from Jonas Valanciunas forced overtime, it was the way the Raptors started the game that bothered Dwane Casey. "The game [on Friday], was lost in the second quarter," Casey said. "Our disposition, we didn't have a physicality about us, they were catching the ball where they wanted to catch it, going where they wanted to go with it, offensive rebounding, you name it."
New-look Pistons: The last time the Raptors faced off against Detroit, the team looked a little different. In late January, the Pistons acquired Blake Griffin, Brice Johnson and Willie Reed from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and Boban Marjanovic. Griffin is a five-time All-Star, and a three-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, is averaging 22.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game this season.
Air Canada Centre: Friday's loss to the Bucks was just Toronto's fifth loss at home this season. The Raptors are an NBA-best 24-5 at home. The Pistons come to Toronto on a back-to-back, falling 114-98 against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday afternoon.
Siakam scoring: Pascal Siakam has scored 17 points off the bench in each of Toronto's previous two games. He is shooting 74 percent from the floor in that stretch, giving him 14 double-figure games in scoring this season. With the season now in the final stretch, Siakam's focus is on taking it one day at a time. "There's 24 games so we all know every single game is important," he said. "We just have to keep doing what we have been doing, keep getting better. We had that game Friday where we did not play our best but just keep getting better each game and that will take care of itself."
Heading out: After Monday's contest, the team will head out on the road for two games before returning to the ACC to take on the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, Mar. 4. Toronto will see the Magic in Orlando on Wednesday, then head Washington to take on the Wizards on Friday before returning home.