Game Preview: Raptors vs Pistons

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (46-17) @ Detroit Pistons (30-31)

When: Sunday, March 3rd, 6 P.M. ET

Where: Little Caesars Arena

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, Fred VanVleet (left thumb ligament) is out. For the Pistons, the injury report is to be determined.

- Quick trip: Sunday’s game against the Pistons is Toronto’s first road game since a 104-99 road victory in New York against the Knicks on Feb.  9. After Sunday’s game, the team will return to Toronto to host the Rockets, then head out on their final three-game road trip of the season. After next week’s trip, the Raptors will not have a road trip longer than two games remaining on their schedule.

- Recent history: This is the second of three meetings between the Raptors and Pistons this season. Toronto will return to Detroit on Mar. 17 for the final regular-season meeting between the teams. In the previous meeting this season, Detroit defeated Toronto 106-104 at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 14 on a game-winning shot from Reggie Bullock who is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Raptors are in Detroit following a thrilling 119-117 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Over their last 10 games, the Raptors are 9-1. Sunday’s game will be a back-to-back for the Pistons, who ran away with a 129-93 victory in Cleveland against the Cavaliers on Saturday. Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 24 points while Blake Griffin added 14 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. The Pistons are 8-2 over their last 10 games.

Extra Assists

- Game-winner: Kawhi Leonard drilled the game-winning shot with 3.0 seconds remaining in Friday’s victory against the Blazers. The shot capped off a wild back-and-forth battle in the fourth, and gave Leonard a game-high 38 points. He shot 14-for-22 from the floor, 2-for-4 from beyond the arc and 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in 35 minutes of action while also adding three rebounds, five assists and three steals. Leonard is tied for seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 27.0 points per game.

- Settling in: Marc Gasol was in the starting five on Friday, and his comfort levels with his new teammates seem to be soaring. Gasol played 33 minutes against the Blazers, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a blocked shot. The Raptors were a team-best +23 in the game when he was on the floor. Though Gasol has only played seven games in a Raptors uniform, his teammates are already singing the praises of playing alongside a big man who is looking to make the pass. “Just give him the ball and I just make the cut,” Kyle Lowry said. “That's how good he is. He's gonna make the right play. To be honest with you, it's kind of easy.”

- Double time: Kyle Lowry finished Friday’s game with 19 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, a steal and two blocked shot in 41 minutes. This was his team-leading 17th double-double of the season and the 91st time he has recorded a 10-point, 10-assist double-double, tying him with Jose Calderon for the franchise record. Lowry is second in the NBA in assists per game, averaging  9.2 assists per contest, and he has recorded 10+ assists 23 times this season.

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