The last time the Detroit Pistons faced the Toronto Raptors, it delivered Detroit’s most lopsided and most fun victory of the season. A 129-105 shellacking at the hands of a G League squad in the lineup and along the coach’s ranks. The Raptors were stuck in the contact tracing vortex of health and safety protocols and needed to rely on players like Yuta Watanabe, Terence Davis, Matt Thomas and Paul Watson. Toronto hasn’t won a game since and is back facing a five-game losing streak and losers of seven of its past eight.
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +3.5
The Raptors are below .500 and the playoffs are in doubt. Enter the Detroit Pistons again. This might allow them to turn their season around or be the last nail in the coffin. They can’t seem to stay out of health and safety protocols, they can’t seem to escape the injury bug, they are forced to play their home games in Tampa, Florida. And the NBA Trade Deadline is looming, and Toronto does not have a shy front office.
At 17-22, they have some big decisions to make about this season and the franchise’s future. Franchise fixture Kyle Lowry is days away from 35 and on an expiring $30 million contract. Fred VanVleet is fresh off of signing a long-term deal and is the heir apparent waiting in the wings. Norm Powell is having a really good season and has an $11 million player option after this season.
Toronto has some interesting building blocks in OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, VanVleet and Chris Boucher, but they could stand to restock the cupboard a bit. They could also simply stand pat and run it back next season trying to bring everyone back to Toronto proper and a better chance to compete. Who knows what Masai Ujiri will do. There is a little bit of a respite in the schedule leading into the trade deadline. The Raptors face the Pistons, the wins leader in the jazz and then the Cavs and the Rockets. If they can sweep that series, they’d be back in the thick of the playoff race with some real momentum.
If they not only lose to the Jazz but drop a game to one of the NBA’s dregs? It could be awfully interesting in the North. But they again won’t have most of their key players against the Pistons.
Anunoby is out due to health and safety protocols, VanVleet is doubtful, and Siakim, rookie Malachi Flynn and veteran Patrick McCaw are all listed as questionable. All but Anunoby were able to participate in the team’s practice Tuesday, so we will see what happens tonight.
Detroit Pistons (10-29)
Delon Wright, Hamidou Diallo (?), Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee
Toronto Raptors (17-22)
Question of the Game
Who is more likely to be traded Kyle Lowry or Mason Plumlee?