I'll handle tonight's game preview while Matt, Mike, and Kevin settle into their new offices here at SB Nation. I know some of you DBB veterans are not happy with the platform (or maybe me) here, but I'm certain you will grow to be satisfied with the better commenting system and extra perks (FanPosts & FanShots). It's a change for all of us, but I sympathize with those not big on the change, so I'm going to follow the classic DBB format for tonight's preview.
Game tips at 7:30 pm ET
Toronto Raptors: 13-17 (4-12 Road)
Detroit Pistons: 11-17 (8-5 Home)
Unlike the Pistons, who have lost five in a row now, the Raptors have themselves a little winning streak going of... two. In those two wins, the kid that we all possess a basketball affinity for, Amir Johnson, was the leader in one way or another. In the win against New Jersey, he led the Raptors with 18 points. Against the Hornets, he pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds. Could it be that the 22-year old's talent is really starting to shine through? I can't say I'm happy about it's timing, as I'm sure Amir's going to look to have a big game against his former squad tonight. The good news for the Pistons is that Toronto has lost three straight road games and haven't won at the Palace since 2003 (11 tries). I've attached the Raptors stats after the jump.
"It's tough to have much drama when your trotting out the JV team for every game." I agree with Kevin on that one, but Amir Johnson's return to the Palace could create some drama, especially since he's been producing lately. No hard feelings from Amir, though:
"I wouldn't say it didn't work out," Johnson said. "We played great together. When we were out there, all the young guys, they'd call us the Zoo Crew. "I've just got an opportunity to play a bit more here."
Keys for Detroit
Get to the free throw line & make them for free: Pistons have attempted less than 20 free throws in four of the games during this five game losing streak. Once they get to the line, they need to knock them down. Missing five free throws in a row, like they did last game, is unacceptable. If it weren't for Ben Wallace (!!!) hitting two free throws last game they would have shot less than 50% as a team in the game. Puking pathetic.
Guard the perimeter: Easier said than done, since the Pistons aren't very good at contesting shots way out there. The Raptors come in shooting 6th in the NBA at 3-point field goals (6.6-18) almost exactly what the Pistons give up per game. The last time these two teams met (November 4th) the Raptors shot 24 threes and nailed 8, all of which were probably wide open looks.
Racking up 20-assists: I said it in the last game preview, that Detroit plays significantly better when they move the ball around and accumulate assist numbers. It's not so much the stat itself as it is an assurance that the Pistons are moving the ball around, creating better looks.
Question of the Game:
Are we going to win? It's time...