Raptors [29-13] vs Pistons [22-20]: Preview and three keys

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 10: Delon Wright
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 10: Delon Wright /

The Toronto Raptors, losers of three of their last four, will look to end their recent slide against the Detroit Pistons.

The Toronto Raptors are in the midst of a cold spell. The team has loss three-of-four, including two consecutive. Part of this undoubtedly is due to a difficult schedule the past couple of games, but with starters in-and-out of the lineup, there is no doubting the Raptors have looked better.

Luckily for the Raptors, their next opponent, the Detroit Pistons, is struggling even worse. The Pistons are losers of five of their last seven and have been reeling since the injury of their starting point guard, Reggie Jackson.

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Although they are in a slide, the Pistons still need to be taken very seriously. They are 22-20, good enough for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, and have two potential All-Stars in Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris.

The Pistons are relatively solid across the board, but do not really excel in any one particular part of the game. Their strongest attribute is their defense, currently ranked 9th and four spots below the Raptors.

Offensively, Detroit ranks 18th, right around average. The team has seen a resurgence this season from Drummond, who is passing the ball better than ever and making his free-throws. This season Drummond has set career high in both assists and free-throw percentage by wide margins. Drummond is up to 3.8 assist per game, more than triple his old career high of 1.1, and is shooting 63-percent at the line, up more than 20-percent from his previous high of 41.8-percent.

Stopping Drummond, as well as Harris, who is a jack-of-all-trades sort of player for the Pistons, will be key. Other than those two, with Jackson out, their isn’t much that should scare the Raptors as they enter the game as considerable favorites.

Three Keys to Victory

  1. Limit Drummond on the boards – The Pistons are a below average rebounding team, however, Andre Drummond is an animal on the glass. Currently, the Piston big-man is averaging 14.9 rebounds per game, best in the NBA. If the Raptors are able to keep him off the glass they shouldn’t have any problems rebounding as a unit.
  2. Dominate the back-court – With Reggie Jackson injured, the Pistons are starting Ish Smith and Avery Bradley at the guard positions. While both are solid players, particularly Bradley, the Raptors have the advantage at both positions.
  3. Play your role – The Pistons are not a particularly deep team. Certainly not as deep as the Toronto Raptors, who can play a plethora of young, energetic bodies off the bench. The Raptors will need to take advantage of this by winning the battle of role-players.

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Both teams are in desperate need of a win. Fortunately for the Raptors, they are the more talented team. Combine that with playing at home, where the Raptors have been excellent this season, and the Raptors win this game relatively easily.