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Toronto Raptors take on the Detroit Pistons

Raptors take on Pistons, look to end losing skid: Preview, start time, and more

Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors look to snap their losing streak and exorcise their demons against former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey and his Pistons. Can they do it?

Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Coach Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors look to salvage their miserable road trip tonight as they visit old friend Dwane Casey and his Detroit Pistons.

The Raptors are banged up, with key rotation pieces missing heading into tonight’s game. Pascal Siakam remains out due to a right adductor strain. Precious Achiuwa is also out indefinitely, while it looks like the flu season took out Fred VanVleet, as he’s slated to miss his second consecutive game.

VanVleet gutted through the OKC Thunder at the start of this current road trip but was just not well enough to stay in the game, and the Raptors displayed one of their most disappointing games under the Nurse era. Without VanVleet against the Pacers the following night, Nurse tried to tinker with the rotation, but the team could not put together a full game of decent two-way performance.

If there’s any silver lining, we are now halfway through the “two-week period” where the team will re-evaluate Siakam’s injury, so let’s hope that coach Nurse can keep the team afloat until then.

O.G. Anunoby is averaging 19.5 points, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks for this current road trip, but the team needs more from him, as he’s the only one who can reliably generate his own offense with a pulse right now. Gary Trent Jr. is in the midst of a miserable road trip, averaging nine points while shooting a 5-for-23 in his last two games. Scottie Barnes’ inconsistent play is trending toward being consistently underwhelming, averaging 11.5 points, six rebounds, and 4.5 assists while shooting 31% from the field for this road trip.

It wasn’t all that bad for the Raptors, as Nick Nurse managed to squeeze a little bit of what prime Thaddeus Young looked like and got some decent production from Dalano Banton, who had a career-high 14 points against the Pacers, and Malachi Flynn, despite the reluctance to use them. Chris Boucher has bounced back from his slump entering this road trip, averaging 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.

Defeating the Pistons with a healthy lineup is tough as it is, and with the injury bug and the team’s discombobulated performance on both ends of the court during this road trip, it’s hard to imagine that the Raptors can pull off a massive upset.

Coach Dwane Casey has been preparing for this game since their last meeting last year, and given the Pistons’ three-game losing streak, the team will definitely play 300% harder for Casey’s seventh revenge game in a row. That’s right — the Pistons currently own a six-game winning streak over the Raptors, the longest current head-to-head losing streak for Nurse and the Raptors. The last time the Raptors beat the Pistons, the World Health Organization had just declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern, and the lockdowns hadn’t happened yet.

The Raptors may be getting some help to even out the playing field, as Pistons’ blue chip Cade Cunningham is out for tonight’s game due to a Wemby wobbly shin. Raptors 6God Cory Joseph is also questionable for tonight’s game with hip soreness.

Coach Casey has turned to Bojan Bogdanovic (the taller one) in Cunningham’s absence and is averaging 26.5 points on 60% shooting. The Pistons’ new lottery rookie Jaden Ivy is averaging 15.8 points and 3.8 assists this season and recently dropped 26 points against the stingy Boston Celtics defense.

It will be a testy, playoff-atmosphere game if the Raptors can make it competitive — heck, make this rivalry the Naismith Cup that used to belong to the Raptors/Grizzlies matchup. The last time these two teams met, the game was not short of drama, as Nurse was tossed midway through the game, and the Raptors made another exciting fake comeback; but it was NBA ref Marc Davis that stole the show, running his whistle to the ground. Thank God that Marc Davis is in Orlando tonight.

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Where to watch:

Sportsnet One, 7:00 PM ET

Lineups:

Toronto Raptors — Thaddeus Young, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Otto Porter Jr.

Detroit Pistons — Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart

Injuries:

Toronto Raptors — Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Khem Birch (knee – questionable), Pascal Siakam (adductor – out), Fred VanVleet (non-COVID illness – out), Justin Champagnie (G League Assignment - out), Ron Harper Jr. (G League Assignment - out)

Detroit Pistons — Cade Cunningham (shin – out), Cory Joseph (hip – questionable), Buddy Beoheim (G League Assignment - out), Braxton Key (G League Assignment - out)

Raptors struggle from the jump and fall short 126-108 in New Orleans

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