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February 22 - Detroit Pistons

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  • February 22 - Detroit Pistons

    ESPN preview:


    In the midst of another losing streak, the Toronto Raptors know how important a win heading into the All-Star break would be.

    The Raptors, however, could have a hard time getting back on track Wednesday night against the visiting Detroit Pistons, who have won three straight in this series.

    Toronto (9-23), which dropped a season-worst eight straight Jan. 10-22, have lost four in a row and seven of eight overall. While three of those most recent losses came against likely playoff contenders, Friday's 98-91 defeat to NBA-worst Charlotte left a bad taste in the Raptors' mouths.

    "If you look at the record yes, this is a game we should have had and we definitely need the next one going into the All Star break," said DeMar DeRozan, who had a game-high 24 points. "We need to be able to close out games moving forward."

    Last in the Atlantic Division, Toronto has been outscored by just 4.8 points per game during its skid. The Raptors had shot 51.1 percent from the field over their previous three games before being limited to 41.7 percent versus the Bobcats.

    "It cannot happen," said Jose Calderon, averaging 20.4 points and 9.6 assists over his last five contests. "We cannot just can't come out here at home and be flat like that ... We have to play good against every team.

    "We have to get better at it. We have four days to get better at it and try to get a win against Detroit and go into the All-Star break."

    Since beating Detroit (11-23) five consecutive times, the Raptors have been outscored by an average of 14.0 points in its losing streak in the series.

    While the Pistons are at the bottom of the Central, it's safe to say they've picked up the pace of late after winning seven of 10.

    Detroit led by as many as 17 points Tuesday and found itself on the verge of a fourth straight victory before things fell apart in a 101-100 loss at Cleveland.

    The Pistons were outrebounded 18-8 and surrendered a season-worst 35 points in the fourth quarter. They had no answer for this season's No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving, who scored 17 of his 25 points in the final period.

    "We just stopped getting stops," fellow rookie Brandon Knight, who scored 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, told the team's official website. "It's never going to be one player. Anything that we do is going to be on us. We just started giving up easy baskets. I think it was 20 points in the first six minutes of the fourth. It was really just us not buckling down."

    Greg Monroe, averaging 20.5 points on 64.9 percent shooting in his last four road games, had 19 and 11 boards to go along with a career-high seven assists Tuesday. Tayshaun Prince, meanwhile, scored just seven points on a season-worst 2-of-15 shooting.

    Tuesday's loss dropped Detroit to 3-13 on the road, where it's averaging 85.9 points to rank 29th in the league. The Raptors are 4-0 at home when holding opponents below 90 points but 0-11 when teams score 90 or more.

    Toronto continues to play without star Andrea Bargnani and could also be without Linas Kleiza in this one. Kleiza (left knee) missed his second straight game Friday, leaving his status for Wednesday unknown.

    Detroit are better than their record implies. I was shocked at the start of the year given their roster and coach. Seems they are getting on the same page of late as they are 8-3 in their last 11. There was a time when I would mock their opponents in that stretch of games but Toronto has lost to all of them so I won't go there.

    It will be another opportunity for Raptor fans to see another 'shoulda, woulda, coulda' pick in Brandon Knight.

  • #2
    Brandon Knight will have a huge game. Did you guys see how upset he was on draft night? Career night for BK
    @Chr1st1anL

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    • #3
      Been a lot of days off in-between games. Interesting to see how the Raps come out early. Also, I'm curious if we will see any new wrinkles offensively.

      I've only watched 2 Detroit games and they were earlier in the year, so I have no idea what to expect. Actually, for the first time since Bargs was back briefly from the calf injury, I am actually looking forward to the game.

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      • #4
        I think out time off will be huge for us this game, I look for Kleiza and Bayless to be back and giving us a lift off the bench. Jose will be rested as will DeMar, may not be a win, but should be a good game.
        Twitter @WJ_FINDLAY

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        • #5
          This is a good game to see how DeRozan matches and measures up to a player like Knight.

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          • #6
            DeMar is looking awesome! When Barbosa and Bayless were on the floor with him, he barely touched the ball. The two black holes.

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            • #7
              They were just chanting MVP for Gray! hahaha
              The Double Champ is here!
              Dynasty King: RRNBADLS7
              Raptors: Larry O'Brien

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              • #8
                Aaron Gray is getting MVP chants?

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                • #9
                  I was kinda hoping for Ed Davis to produce similar to what Monroe is doing in his second year. It's a little disappointing I suppose, but Monroe looks like he's going to be a real good one and Ed needs some more time...

                  Imagine what could have been with Big Val and Greg Monroe both in Raps uni's?? I'm thinking David Robinson/Tim Duncan days!
                  The Double Champ is here!
                  Dynasty King: RRNBADLS7
                  Raptors: Larry O'Brien

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                  • #10
                    Graysanity.

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                    • #11
                      I fucking despise when the fans boo if a player misses a shot to get them their stupid pizza. I hope we stay at 99 points and you don't get shit. Pizza Pizza sucks anyways...
                      The Double Champ is here!
                      Dynasty King: RRNBADLS7
                      Raptors: Larry O'Brien

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                      • #12
                        Good game overall.

                        For me, this was DeMar's best game of the season. High shooting percentages and good decisions with the ball plus 6 trips to the line.

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                        • #13
                          Ya, he had a great game. He played well on D too. It looks like he has found his touch again. He can improve his outside shooting and handle in the off-season. I think the lockout hurt our young players development.

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                          • #14
                            That's exactly the kind of game I'm looking for from Derozen, the drive, pull up is such a hard shot to defend and it's a high percentage shot as well. He needs to remember what he did this game and repeat it.

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                            • #15
                              All i can say is i told you so... my boi ain't done yet lol

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