The Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons renew their rivalry Monday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Toronto came out victorious when these two teams met on Jan. 30. The Raptors built up a substantial lead but they weren't able to fully put their opponent away. As a result all-star point guard Kyle Lowry logged 40 minutes of action.
Detroit will be without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in this one as the shooting guard is out of commission due to a core muscle strain. That's excellent news for DeMar DeRozan as Caldwell-Pope frustrated Toronto's other all-star with his length and defensive capabilities.
Here are three things to keep an eye on as the action unfolds tonight:
Drummond Revenge Game:
Andre Drummond is one of the NBA's most dominant centres, averaging a massive double-double of 17.1 points and 14.9 rebounds per game. In the last meeting between the teams, Drummond let his emotions get the best of him as he picked up six personal fouls in the second half. The imposing big man has historically struggled against Toronto in his career, only* averaging 11.6 points and 11.2 boards in 12 games. Look for him to turn in a bounce-back performance tonight. But if he really starts to get going, Dwane Casey can always elect to 'hack-a-Andre' and send him and his 35 per cent free-throw shooting to the line.
Can T-Ross Stay Hot?
It's fitting that we cast the spotlight on Terrence Ross for this game seeing how he was drafted by the Raptors one pick ahead of Drummond in 2012. Consistently inconsistent, Ross is going through one of his good phases right now, reaching double-digit scoring figures in eight of his past 10 games. Not only is he knocking down his threes, he's having success off the dribble. There's arguably nothing more satisfying when watching the Raptors than seeing Ross put the ball on the floor and then rise up over the defence with his freakish athleticism to knock down a jumper. If the former Slam Dunk Contest champ can keep up his hot play, the Toronto should walk away with the win.
Fireworks at the Palace:
One of the most entertaining Raptors games in recent memory was last season's win in Detroit on Dec. 19. Not only did it produce one of the most jaw-dropping dunks in the team's history courtesy of James Johnson, it ended with some drama as Drummond took exception to being posterized and laid out Johnson a couple possessions later. Johnson is unfortunately out with an ankle issue for this one, but perhaps Ross or Norman Powell, who wanted to compete in the dunk contest, can can carry the torch tonight.
Where to watch: Sportsnet ONE at 7:30 p.m. ET