Game Tips at 7:00 p.m. EST
Toronto Raptors: 10-18 (7-8 home)
Detroit Pistons: 9-19 (2-12 road)
Tonight, the Pistons face the Raptors, source of arguably the most depressing defeat in the history of Pistons basketball. Expect another up and down game, as neither team has mastered the art of preventing another team from scoring at will.
Offensively, the Raptors are reasonably well equipped. Shooting guard cum center Andrea Bargnani is scoring 21 ppg in 34 minutes of play per game. Point Guard Jerryd Bayless has been a revelation in the absence of the increasingly ineffectual Jose Calderon.
As a result, the Raptors rank a respectable 12th in offensive efficiency. On the defensive end? Ouch.
Let's face it, Bargnani's points come at an enormous cost. The Raptors have no interior presence to speak of (exacerbated by the absence of the surprising effective Reggie Evans). For three quarters, the Pistons were able to aggressively exploit the Raptors' shortcomings on that end.
Keys to the Game:
Stop dribble penetration: During their collapse, the Pistons were destroyed by kickouts to open three point shooters. What's depressing is that the Raptors aren't efficient from beyond the arc. But Bayless was able to pick apart Detroit's defense with ease, which left the shooters wide open.
Get it inside: Note. This does not mean lobbing a soft pass over three defenders, nor does it mean dribbling into a wall of defenders. The Pistons tried this tactic in the fourth quarter of the previous match-up.
Preserve the lead: Prediction. Detroit will have at least one lead of ten points or more. That is a perfect time to slow down the pace, and work for a good shot. If it comes down to a battle of perimeter shooting, the Raptors can't make up ten point.
Question of the Game:
So, is Rip on the team anymore, or has he gone all Randy Moss on us?
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