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 assists (3,770).
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 Charlotte.
"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