NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 19th (All times Eastern)
Detroit Pistons (7-20) at Toronto Raptors (7-19), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The suddenly streaking Toronto Raptors will hope to continue their great play Wednesday night when they host the struggling Detroit Pistons.
The Raptors won their third game in a row Tuesday night, a 113-99 road win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The victory gave Toronto its longest winning streak of the season and snapped an 11-game road slide.
"Sooner or later, you've got to man up and buck up," said head coach Dwane Casey.
Buck up, the Raptors did.
Jose Calderon played yet another solid game, leading the way against Cleveland with 23 points and six assists. Alan Anderson led a fantastic bench effort with 18 pints on 5-for-7 3-point shooting and Amir Johnson had 17 points in a reserve role. The bench accounted for an impressive 59 points and had four double-figure scorers.
The Raptors overcame a four-point halftime deficit and buried the Cavs with a 35-23 fourth quarter.
What's made this run more impressive for the Raptors is that they've done it without two of their best players. Andrea Bargnani (right elbow) and Kyle Lowry (torn right triceps) both missed their fourth straight, but there is some good news on the injury front. Landry Fields, who missed 20 games with an elbow injury, has been cleared to play, but his availability for Wednesday night is still unknown.
While the Raptors are heading in the right direction, the Pistons are once again struggling. Detroit has lost five in a row and nine of its previous 11. If the Cavs weren't on the schedule, the Pistons would be in real trouble. Their only two wins since Nov. 30 came against Cleveland.
On Monday, the Pistons fell to the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers 88-76 at home. Rodney Stuckey missed the contest with back spasms and is day-to-day with the injury, but he practiced on Tuesday and coach Lawrence Frank expects him in the lineup.
Brandon Knight led the way for Detroit with 16 points and the venerable Tayshaun Prince chipped in 15.
The Pistons committed 17 turnovers against the Clippers and got outrebounded 42-34.
"I thought we did some good things on the offensive end for the majority of the game," Prince said. "Obviously late in the game we didn't execute like we wanted and that's when you have to execute the best."
The Pistons defeated the Raptors 91-90 on Nov. 23 in Detroit when Knight scored with less than 10 seconds on the clock. The Pistons have won three straight against the Raptors and six of the last seven, but are 2-3 in their last five up north.
12/19 10:31:20 ET