It has been a terrible month to be a Pistons fan. Detroit has lost 11 of 12 games in the month of March, while its only victory came from a one point win over the worst team in the league. The Pistons have been without their youngest, most productive player for 22 games in a row, having lost Andre Drummond to a back injury in early February. What's even more frustrating is that their new purist of a point guard joined the team 24 games back, and Pistons fans have been robbed of far too many Jose Calderon to Andre Drummond alley-oops as a result. I'm here, you're here, because tonight will actually be different. Andre Drummond will return tonight and join the starting lineup for the first time in his young career.
Game Tips Off at 7:30 P.M. EST
Toronto Raptors: 26 - 45 (9 - 26 road)
Detroit Pistons: 24 - 48 (15 - 22 home)
Between the Pistons and the Raptors, it's safe to say that the Pistons got the better end of the bargain in the January 3-team trade. While Detroit's record lags behind Toronto's, the Pistons have their share of excuses. The Raptors added 7-year forward Rudy Gay in the trade, and Gay is having a very difficult season in a Raptors uniform. Gay is shooting just 40% from the field and 24% from the perimeter as a Raptor, and when he's not missing the hoop, he's usually turning the ball over.
To acquire Rudy Gay, the Raptors sent out two of their three most productive players this season in Ed Davis and Jose Calderon. The lone remaining stand-out is ex-Piston Amir Johnson, the 25-year-old forward who is now doing everything it looked like he could do in a Pistons jersey, albeit without most of the fouls. Beyond Johnson (which would be an awesome nickname, I picture him wearing TRON glasses), Kyle Lowry and rookie Jonas Valanciunas are holding it down, and in limited minutes, Quincy Acy is looking nice.
But honestly, who cares about the Raptors? Andre Drummond is starting tonight for the Pistons.
ANDRE DRUMMOND IS STARTING TONIGHT FOR THE DETROIT PISTONS.
Nothing else matters.
Keys to the Game:
Drumroe: Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are now in lock position. It may take a while, even up to a full season, for these two to work out the kinks that come with forming chemistry. Some have already suggested it will never work, but those people are idiots.
Pick and Roll the Wheels Off: Jose Calderon is blindingly effective on the pick-and-roll, and he now has two top PNR partners up front. Tonight will be a great opportunity for Jose to command the offense and feed a few rolling big men.
Defend the Paint: Toronto is very effective on post-up opportunities and scoring on the offensive glass. They're number one in the league in put-back attempts, so grabbing defensive rebounds will be even more important than usual tonight. Keep an eye on the pick-and-rolls too, as Toronto can be pretty nasty there.
Question of the Game:
Will the Game Thread go all green in celebration of Andre Drummond's first career start? YOU DECIDE.