7:00 pm ET
Toronto: 23-42 (12-18)
Margin: -3.8 ppg (-9.7 last 25%)
Pistons: 32-31 (15-15 road)
Margin: -0.5 (-1.6 last 25%)
Last 10: 5-5
Wow. Since trading Jermaine O'Neal away for Shawn Marion, the Raptors have gone from bad to abysmal. A competent offensive squad, Toronto is hampered by a porous defense and an inability to rebound. Combine this with a lack of a strong perimeter game, and you have a team that couldn't even win in Euroleague.
All of this in spite of Andrea Bargani's return to respectability. Do they miss Carlos Delfino this much? Moreso, this an assemblage of talent and coaching that doesn't work well. Toronto plays at an average pace when their personell (Marion in particular) would benefit from pushing the ball up the court.
Like Detroit, Toronto lacks a real three point threat. Check that. They have a three point threat, but Jason Kapono is more interested in using the threat of the three to earn himself the opportunity to take a low-percentage two-pointer. Meanwhile, the teams stars, Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon, haven't elevated their games the way one might expect.
I wonder whether Toronto begins tanking at this point. I also wonder whether we'll be able to tell.
Keys for Detroit
Don't foul Calderon: It goes without saying, but if he winds up going to the line eight times, I'll be ticked.
Exploit the offensive glass: This is Toronto's single biggest weakness, and even without Sheed, we have the personnel to hold it against them.
Find a three point threat: As Matt mentioned in the previous post, we have options who can at least keep the defense honest. I think Michael Curry mistakenly believes that grind it out basketball is not jump shooting basketball. The opposite is, in fact, true.
Question of the Game
Can we maintain our leads? We seem to have reverted back to the early season, when blowing double digit leads was the norm.