To be honest, I had almost forgotten the Pistons were still in the NBA. If not for coach Stan Van Gundy's tremendous outpourings of support for various political causes, there would not be very much chatter around the team from Detroit. They are 25-29 and sitting in 8th place, but like, whatever.
The Raptors, meanwhile, are hoping to course correct. After running hot for the 2016 portion of the season, Toronto has slowed. Part of this is due to injury of course — DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Patterson have missed some games — but there's been a grander sense of... malaise? confusion? exhaustion? hanging around the team as of late. The confident wins have been fewer and farther between. The disappointing losses have mounted. The cries for a trade have gotten louder. It's a tense time.
Yes, they dispatched the Nets, and then beat up on a Chris Paul-less Clippers team. But that loss to the Timberwolves sticks in the craw. At full strength, they still appear as a talented team — with presumably more upside than [checks paper to remind] ah yes, the Detroit Pistons. But also:
Patrick Patterson (left knee contusion) is out tonight vs. Detroit. #WeTheNorth— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) February 12, 2017
After an extended three day break, the Raptors have tonight's game, then a showdown vs. the cursed Bulls, and a match against the Hornets. Then they get an even longer break for the NBA's All-Star festivities. They'll just need to grind out the next three games and then reassess.
But winning these games, starting tonight against the forgettable Pistons, would be a good start.
Now check out Kevin Nimmock's preview here and then get in the comments.