The Detroit Pistons will be going up against an undermanned Toronto Raptors in a 2020-21 NBA matchup on Wednesday at the Amalie Arena. The game was postponed by 24 hours after several Toronto Raptors players and coaches were placed under the league’s health and safety protocols.
After deeming that the Toronto Raptors have enough personnel to play, the league has pushed through with the game on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the Toronto Raptors will be without starters Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby as well as reserves Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw.
Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, along with five staff members, had previously entered the protocols a week ago. They will miss the Detroit Pistons game as well. Assistant coach Sergio Scariolo, who coached the Toronto Raptors to a 122-111 win against the Houston Rockets last Friday, will be the acting coach again.
The 17-17 Raptors, who are fifth in the Eastern Conference, had to call up Jalen Harris and Donta Hall from their G League team to suit up for the match to fill up the roster spots of the missing players.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons are coming off a 90-109 reverse against the New York Knicks in their last outing. They are on a two-game losing run, having won only nine games all season, to occupy the 15th place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Fixture - Detroit Pistons vs Toronto Raptors | 2020-21 NBA Season.
Date & Time - Wednesday, March 3; 7:00 PM ET (Monday, March 4; 5:30 AM IST).
Venue - Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL.
Detroit Pistons Preview
The Detroit Pistons have lost six of their previous seven matches. Though they have generally been competitive this season, their last outing resulted in a blowout loss against the New York Knicks on their home floor on Sunday.
The Detroit Pistons may have gotten a break but they cannot afford to take the Toronto Raptors lightly. Even if the Toronto Raptors are missing three-fifths of their starting five, the Detroit Pistons can’t simply show up and believe they’ll win the game by default.
Nevertheless, coach Dwane Casey will have an easier time preparing for the game than usual.
Key Player - Jerami Grant
Jerami Grant is questionable but he is likely to play despite a quad injury. The do-it-all forward has been playing inconsistently since his All-Star snub, though.
In his last five games for the Detroit Pistons, Grant has averaged 21.6 points on 37.9% shooting from the field and 24.3% from the three. These are a notch below his season averages of 23.4 points on 43.3% shooting, including 36.3% from beyond the arc.
Without Pascal Siakam on the Toronto Raptors roster on Wednesday, Grant should be able to take advantage of the mismatches he gets and finally snap out of his slump.
Detroit Pistons Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Smith Jr., G Svi Mykhailiuk, F Saddiq Bey, F Jerami Grant, C Mason Plumlee.
Toronto Raptors Preview
The severely short-handed Toronto Raptors will have a difficult time on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons, as they have many players out. Acting coach Sergio Scariolo will have to keep the team afloat amidst the latest challenge facing them.
Fortunately, the COVID-19 protocols kicked in with the All-Star break just around the corner. Hopefully, it will allow the Toronto Raptors an extra few days to get their players back in time for the second half of the season.
Against the Detroit Pistons, the Toronto Raptors will have to rally around Kyle Lowry and provide him the support he would need. Chris Boucher and Norman Powell will have to step up their games both offensively and defensively.
Key Player - Kyle Lowry
Without many of his compatriots, Kyle Lowry has a huge responsibility on his shoulders as he leads the Toronto Raptors to battle against a tough Detroit Pistons team.
In Friday’s win, Lowry had a triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and ten assists. He may have to replicate his efforts again for the Toronto Raptors to win on Wednesday.
The Detroit Pistons are likely going to double-team the six-time All-Star to get the ball out of his hands and let the other players beat them. Lowry will have to be smart and find a way to get the ball in spots on the floor where he can do the most damage.
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
G Kyle Lowry, G Norman Powell, F DeAndre’ Bembry, F Chris Boucher, C Aron Baynes.
Pistons vs Raptors Match Prediction
The Detroit Pistons have the advantage both on paper and on the floor when they face the Toronto Raptors. Of all the challenges that the Toronto Raptors have faced this season, the COVID-19 protocols have been their biggest hurdle yet.
With the Toronto Raptors potentially inserting two G League players during the game, it’s likely that the Detroit Pistons could be able to take advantage of their opponent’s lack of chemistry.
Despite the Pistons’ recent struggles, they could leave Florida with a win against the Raptors even if Jerami Grant doesn’t play.