Now on to the preview. After pulling off the biggest comeback in franchise history against the Pistons in the first meeting of the season, the Raptors fell to Detroit 11 days later at the ACC behind 35 points from Richard Hamilton. T-Mac wasn't too bad in that game either, as I was in attendance for that game and witnessed his play that night. With the season series now tied at 1-1, the team that wins tonight will go ahead 2-1, before the final meeting on March 16.
The Basics: Toronto 13-25 (8-7 vs. teams below .500), Detroit 12-26 (11-4 when scoring 100+)
When We Last Saw Them: In the last game the Raptors lost a heart-breaker to the Atlanta Hawks after being unable to execute in crunch-time. They gave a valiant effort for the entire game and even led going into the 4th, but in the end the Hawks walked away with the 104-101 victory, due to great play from Jamal Crawford and some clutch shooting by Mike Bibby.
Key Match-ups: Though T-Mac is not close to being the player he once was, he has been playing great as off late and DeMar should have his hands full with him. DeMar's athleticism would also be tough for T-Mac and those old legs to handle as well. Andrea Bargnani and Greg Monroe is also a critical match-up in this one. Monroe is the Pistons' young rookie out of Georgetown, and since Big Ben went down with injury he has really stepped up to the plate. Having recorded a double-double in his last four games, Monroe has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with on the boards. If Bargnani doesn't get in the paint and fight for some boards, Monroe could end up with another 10+ performance on the glass. Bench play would also be key in this one as Detroit has guys like Richard Hamilton and Austin Daye coming off their bench. Leandro Barbosa has been a huge spark off the Raptors bench lately, but other guys will have to produce as well tonight.
Other Things of Note:
- James will be at the game tonight repping the DNB
- This would be Toronto's last home game before embarking on a 5 game roadtrip, starting in Washington on Saturday. Raps are 4-1 in Friday home games
- The Raptors have shot above 50% from the field in the last 5 games
- Jose Calderon has the second best assist-turnover ratio in the league behind Chris Paul
- Leandro Barbosa is currently the 4th best scorer off the bench with 13.8
- Detroit is 8-4 when having a higher FG% than their opponents
- Detroit is 3-17 on the road
Where is It On: TSN at 7pm or listen in on the FAN590