A Raptors game in Detroit is like tucking into one of your favourite meals (a feeling I know well during the holiday season). Toronto fans will make the trip across the border to invade Little Caesars Arena; some will come in buses and be greeted by Jack Armstrong, who will mention them on the broadcast. Cameras will pan to them in the crowd. The cheers for made buckets will be louder for Pascal Siakam than they will be for Blake Griffin.
The Raptors have won seven of their last ten games against the Pistons, and in the middle of a purple patch of games — Washington is up next with a big home game against the Mavericks looming — things look favourable again tonight.
Detroit, for their part, are bringing back a couple major pieces from injury. Both Griffin and Andre Drummond are returning from short-term stints on the injured reserve, as both missed the last two games — a win over the Rockets and a loss to the Wizards.
Per Dwane Casey, #Pistons’ Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will play tonight.— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 18, 2019
The Raptors will get no such luck when it comes to their missing pieces. Fred VanVleet is on the trip but officially out, according to The Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat.
VanVleet officially out— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) December 18, 2019
Still, after wins over the Nets and Cavaliers, the Raptors once again look primed to take advantage of a soft spot in their schedule. Detroit is in limbo with their current roster — outside of the playoff picture with rumours starting to hum about what they will do at the trade deadline with Drummond. This was supposed to be a team in the hunt for a home playoff series. That would take a big swing at this point.
For now, these two teams trending in different directions will meet on what recent history tells us is the Raptors’ home away from home. Here are the details for tonight’s matchup:
Where to Watch
TSN, 7:00 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Detroit — Luke Kennard, Tony Snell, Bruce Brown, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
Toronto — Fred VanVleet (out - ankle), Matt Thomas (out - finger), Stanley Johnson (out - hip)
Detroit — Reggie Jackson (out - back), Khyri Thomas (out - foot)