After two disappointing games against two very good teams, the Pistons schedule begins to ease up. It is make or break time when it comes to the playoffs. Miami and Milwaukee are both hot and have shown no signs of falling off. The Pistons can still control their own destiny if they start to win, but the margin of error is very slim.
There is no better way to start a win streak than at home against a weakened Toronto Raptors team.
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills-Auburn Hills, MI
When: Friday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
As I mentioned above, this is not your typical Toronto Raptors. They are missing the heart and soul of their team, Kyle Lowry. He is one of the best point guards in the league and him and DeMar DeRozan are the stars that make the Raptors roll.
Speaking of DeRozan, he has torched the Pistons this season. He has averaged 33 points per game the two games these teams have faced each other this season. Without Lowry, expect DeRozan to take on an even bigger role on offense.
With Kyle Lowry being out, Cory Joseph will start at point guard, and he is no slouch. He obviously is not on the level of Lowry, but he is one of the better backup point guards in the game.
Toronto made a couple of solid moves at the trade deadline that looked like could elevate them past Boston into the two spot in the East before Lowry’s injury. They acquired Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic and PJ Tucker from the Phoenix Suns. They were able to acquire both while only surrendering one rotation player in Terrance Ross.
The Raptors have long had a weakness at the power forward position and Serge Ibaka fills that role perfectly with his shot blocking and 3 point stroke. If the Pistons opt to start Jon Leuer again, he will have his work cut out for him.
Another player for the Pistons who will have their work cut out for them is Andre Drummond. He will be matched up with Jonas Valanciunas, who always seems to have his way with Andre Drummond. He has averaged 24 points per game in the two games these two teams have played this season, far above his season average of 12 points.
If you remember the last time these two teams played, the Pistons erased a 16 point fourth quarter deficit and won on a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope clutch 3 pointer. Hopefully, we will not need to see any of those fourth quarter heroics.
Toronto may be missing Kyle Lowry, but this will not be an easy game. If the Pistons let DeRozan get hot, this could be a long night.
Pistons: Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer, Andre Drummond
Raptors: Cory Joseph, DeMar DeRozan, Demarre Carroll, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Pistons 101, Raptors 89
I think the Pistons will start out strong and take care of business to win a much-needed game.
Who do you think will make the playoffs as the 6, 7, and 8 seed in the East?