After losing two hard fought games to the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors look to face another formidable opponent. The Detroit Pistons have fallen down in the standings but posses the talent and leadership to turn things around down the stretch. The Pistons man a relatively large front court so the Raptors should have their hands full tonight in the paint. Luckily, the Pistons don’t bring the same level of defence as say the Heat or the Pacers, so the Raptors should see more offensive production from the wealth of the roster. The Pistons are losers of five straight, and with the way the Raptors have been playing of late there’s definite potential for this one to get emotional.
Cage’s Keys to the Game:
Get to the Glass
Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are beasts, and the biggest man on the court. He will try and use his physical stature to have his way, so the Raptors must counter with better positioning. Size helps on getting rebounds, but it’s the player with the inside position who has the upper hand; for the ball, and with the referees.
Where Art Thou Amir?
The production of Amir Johnson is something that can’t be taken for granted. The Raptors need Amir’s efficiency in order to be effective as a team. It’s when the opposition is aware of Amir’s presence on the floor is when the Raptors are most dangerous. He always manages to find the right position especially in loose ball situations.
Toronto had virtually no wing production in their effort against the Pacers last night. The Raptors need Terrence Ross and John Salmons to step things up, however this is a game DeMar DeRozan could carry on his own if needed.
The Raptors have to contain the likes of Brandon Jennings if they want to make things easier tonight. Jennings has been struggling as of late and had informed the public that he lacks confidence at times,
so who better than Kyle Lowry to lock him down?
The Toronto Raptors have lost two games in a row, and usually it would be a bad thing. However, after losing two tightly contested matchup’s against NBA royalty, the Raptors know they can play with anyone. With Lowry at the helm of a team that’s truly tired of losing, the Raptors are sure to carry this mean streak with them all the way to the post-season. The Raptors know what they have with the Pistons; a team full of talent who are dysfunctional as a unit. Dominant teams take advantage of this, and the Raptors are out to prove they are in fact dominant.
X-Factor: Greivis Vasquez
Tonight’s X-factor is Greivis Vasquez. Every time a Raptor is mentioned in the media, they have one of those games. As of late, Greivis has been off his game, looking a step slow. Against the Pistons backcourt, Vasquez will have a definite size advantage where he will be in optimal positions to attack the Pistons defence allowing for movement among the Raptors wing players. The drop-off between him and Kyle Lowry won’t be as noticeable tonight as the Pistons are far inferior to the Heat or Pacers. Let’s hope to see a bounce back game from Vasquez tonight.