Toronto comes to the Palace

Essentials

  • Teams: Toronto Raptors (26-45) at Detroit Pistons (24-48)
  • Date: March 29, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After getting routed at home by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Detroit Pistons will be attempting to bounce back tonight when they host the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors have lost five games in a row. In addition, they’ve had back-to-back losses by double digits entering tonight’s contest in Detroit.

Much like Detroit, Toronto’s most recent contest was a blowout defeat at home.

The Raptors played against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night and took a 10-point lead at halftime on the strength of Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan’s play.

Both players made a living inside the paint by using curl screens and drives. They got a multitude of looks right at the rim but then fell apart in the second half because of the Hawks’ defensive adjustments.

Atlanta’s offense came alive in the final two quarters and nailed open shot after open shot against a seemingly helpless Raptors defense.

Dwane Casey’s unit was essentially ATL stomped.

Reviewing the game film from the Raptors’ sound beating should reveal a couple of things that should favor Detroit.

Amir Johnson is quite possibly Toronto’s best interior defender and he left the game early in the third quarter due to a left leg contusion. This gave Jonas Valanciunias an opportunity at anchoring the paint for the Raptors both offensively and defensively.

The rookie big man fought valiantly for post position and got himself some terrific looks at the basket.

On the other side of the ball, he played good interior defense against Al Horford and made him work for position. Mind you, this is a matchup that unquestionably favors the Pistons.

It’s not Valanciunas is easily moved on the block defensively, but rather that his lack of NBA experience affords him no leverage whatsoever with officials. He often gets mauled on the interior without repercussion.

Once his assignment catches the ball in the post, whatever contact he initiates usually results in foul calls. Thus, Detroit’s interior players should be presented with decent scoring opportunities against the rookie.

Also, the Hawks took away the curls and drives by having Jeff Teague play off Kyle Lowry.

Indeed, Teague’s responsibility in the second half was to ignore Lowry whenever he passed the ball and sit on players coming off screens. The Raptors lack of perimeter shooting and offensive sophistication hurt them on this front.

They never truly adjusted.

Lawrence Frank’s big men obviously are nowhere near as mobile and active as the Hawks’ frontcourt. Thus, the Pistons’ coaching staff probably won’t have the possibility of replicating the exact same game plan as Atlanta.

However, borrowing a few concepts from Larry Drew can’t hurt.

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