NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 29th
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (26-45) at Detroit Pistons (24-48), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Raptors will face two teams over their next
four games, starting with Friday's road matchup against the Detroit Pistons.
The Raptors will then visit Washington before returning home to host the
Pistons and Wizards.
Toronto hopes it can end a five-game slide in the beginning of the odd
schedule and suffered a 107-88 loss to the Atlanta Hawks the last time out on
Wednesday. Rudy Gay returned to action following a one-game absence because of
a sore back and posted 15 points and 12 rebounds. Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar
DeRozan scored 19 and 14 points, respectively, in the loss.
The Raptors committed 20 turnovers, leading to 24 Atlanta points, and are
averaging 16.5 turnovers per game this month (13 games).
"We've got to be physical, got to meet the challenge and grab the bull by the
horns," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We got to be desperate, the physical
challenge, that's the NBA. But it goes back to the turnovers, that was the
culprit that started everything."
Casey's club has lost four in a row on the road and is 9-26 outside Air Canada
Centre this season. Raptors forward Amir Johnson left the game against the
Hawks in the third quarter with a leg contusion and is day-to-day.
Friday's game marks the first meeting between Toronto and Detroit since Gay
landed in the Great White North following a three-team trade. Gay was acquired
from Memphis, while the Raptors shipped guard Jose Calderon to Detroit.
Calderon spent eight seasons with the Raptors and is their all-time leader in
Calderon currently leads the NBA in 3-point percentage at 46.0 and will try to
help the Pistons end their seven-game home losing streak Friday.
The Pistons fell to 1-11 in March and dropped a 105-82 decision to the
Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday night at The Palace, where Calderon scored 14
points and Greg Monroe had 11 and 12 rebounds -- his 32nd double-double.
Detroit had ended a 10-game slide the previous time out on Saturday against
"We deserved everything we got tonight," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said.
"We've got 24 wins and not many games left. The fans that were out here
tonight are the hardcore loyalists, and we need to give them a better product.
They have every right to boo us right now."
The Timberwolves used a 32-9 run with 9:06 remaining in the third quarter to
take a 82-54 lead into the final period.
Following their bout with the Raptors, the Pistons, who are 15-22 at home,
will hit the road for four games at Chicago, Toronto, Boston and Minnesota. In
injury news for Detroit, forward Charlie Villanueva (illness) is questionable
Friday and guard Will Bynum will not play with a hand injury.
Detroit and Toronto have split two games this season with each team winning on
their own floor. The Pistons have prevailed in six of the last eight meetings
between the East foes and are playing well as the host in this series, winning
four in a row and 15 of 18 contests.
03/29 10:41:17 ET