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Pistons vs. Raptors preview: Coming home strong

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Detroit faces Toronto on the second night of a back-to-back

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons took care of business yesterday, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-93, boarding the team plane, and getting home in time to get eight hours of sleep in their own beds. They’re going to need the rest against the Toronto Raptors, one of the premier teams in the East, who themselves are coming off a big win against the Portland Trailblazers.

Game Vitals:

When: March 3, 2019, 6 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Projected Lineups:

Detroit Pistons (30-31):
Reggie Jackson, Wayne Ellington, Bruce Brown Jr., Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond

Toronto Raptors (46-17):
Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol

Analysis:

The last time the Raptors played, this happened:

That game-winner capped a 38-point night for Kawhi Leonard, quietly (as he does) putting together another All-Star and All-NBA worthy season. However, this was Kawhi the last time he played the Detroit Pistons:

Remember that? Fun times.

Stanley Johnson, the genesis of that defensive effort the Pistons used to unseat the Raptors all the way back in November, is no longer on the team. So tonight, the Pistons are going to have to use a different tactic, one that’s worked for them of late: Scoring a bunch of points.

In that stretch, the Pistons are outscoring teams by an average of 10 points a game and have won eight of 11. The offense has expanded beyond Blake Griffin posting up 90 times a game: Andre Drummond is dunking everything in sight, Reggie Jackson is rejuvenated and operating well as a pick-and-roll threat and a spot-up shooter, Wayne Ellington is starting to hit the shots he was signed to hit, Luke Kennard is playing mad and doing crazy stuff like this:

It’s reductive but true: tonight’s game will come down to whichever team is operating more fluidly and efficiently on offense will win, and the Pistons have been operating like a top-10 offense for a little over a month now. The Pistons are playing well enough right now that I feel comfortable picking them at home against anyone.

To that end:

Prediction:

Detroit 119, Toronto 114

I’m all-in on the Kool-Aid, y’all.