Season Series: Raptors 1-0
After a disappointing loss in Brooklyn on Monday night, the Toronto Raptors are back at Air Canada Centre to kick off a three-game homestand. On Wednesday night they take on the Detroit Pistons, who are on the second night of a back-to-back after collecting a victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Toronto rolled to an easy victory against the Pistons when they were in town on January 8th. Tallying a 112-91 win, Kyle Lowry scored a team-high 21 points to go with nine assists and Jonas Valanciunas posted a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double.
What To Watch
DeMar DeRozan getting to the foul line: When talking about the evolution in DeMar DeRozan’s game, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is always quick to mention his ability to get to the free throw line. Driving to the basket hard, taking contact, trying to finish, DeRozan has steadily improved at this over his five years in the league. He is averaging 11 free throw attempts over his past six games.
Detroit’s road woes: While the Pistons have struggled for much of the season and currently own a 25-39 record, they struggle most on the road. Detroit is on a nine-game skid on the road. Their last road victory came in Washington on January 18th. The Raptors are 18-12 on the season at home.
Terrence Ross vs Andre Drummond: When the Raptors selected Terrence Ross with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Andre Drummond was still on the draft board. A lot of Raptor faithful were quick to say the team should have gone with Drummond while it had the chance to select him. Fast forward a year and change and Drummond is indeed one of the promising young big men in the game. He’s averaging 13 rebounds per game, trailing just DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Love. In comparison, Ross has become a starter on a playoff-bound team and also put up the fourth-highest single-game point total across the NBA this season when he scored 51 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 25th.
Highlights from DeMar DeRozan’s live chat on NBA.com with Rick Fox from Tuesday:
– “Just putting my overall game all together. Putting my experience of being in the league for five years and understanding the offensive end and defensive end to elevate my game.” – DeRozan on how he’s improved his game this season
– “Mentally just the fact of getting tired of losing. Honestly. Willing to become more of a student and understanding how to win games. That definitely played a big part, especially for me mentally trying to figure out how to win games. What are the little things you need to know coming down in a late-game situation. How to win in late-game situations.” – DeRozan on what has changed mentally over the last offseason
“That’s definitely the cool thing. All season long you’re battling, going against these guys. They’re going at your neck and vice versa, You’re trying to win. Your competitive mind state kicks in. You don’t look at them like a teammate or a coworker, whatever it may be. To come together that weekend, practice, do little events together and then go out and play in the game Sunday night, it’s definitely cool. Seeing everybody’s personalities you go out there and have fun. Outside of going at LeBron, the D-Wades, Joe Johnsons every single night, you can go out there and have fun. It’s cool.” – DeRozan on his first All-Star experience.
“I think everybody on our team put their egos aside. Everybody’s first mindset was to win. Doing whatever it takes to win. It starts on the defensive end. I think from day one, especially since the trade, everybody put their egos to the side and understand if we want to be a good team, we have to defend first. Everybody in this league can score. You’ve got to defend. Ever since then we’ve made a conscious effort to be better every day.” – DeRozan on how the Raptors have grown this season
Raptors: Kyle Lowry (G), DeMar DeRozan (G), Terrence Ross (F), Amir Johnson (F), Jonas Valanciunas (C)
Raptors: Patrick Patterson – right ulnar collateral sprain (out)
Pistons: Peyton Siva – sprained left ankle (day-to-day), Chauncey Billups – left knee surgery (out), Josh Harrellson – knee (out)
By The Numbers: Raptors vs. Pistons
|2013-14 AVERAGES||2013-14 RANKINGS|
Last Time They Met: Raptors 112, Pistons 91 - Jan. 8th, 2014