NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction - Toronto Raptors vs Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors (49-20) v Detroit Pistons (35-33)
18th March 2019, 1:30 AM IST,
Little Caesar's Arena, Detroit, MI
Head to Head (Regular Season):
Matches played: 88 matches played
Detroit Pistons: 53 matches won
Toronto Raptors: 35 matches won
The Detroit Pistons are currently placed 6th in the Eastern Conference, with a 35-33 record. They have been playing really well of late, winning 7 of their last 10 matches, and would need to keep this going as they are just 0.5 games ahead of 7th-placed Brooklyn Nets and 3 games ahead of 8th-placed Miami Heat.
The Toronto Raptors, on the other hand, have a solid 5 game lead over the 3rd placed Philadelphia 76ers and have to cover 3 games in order to take the #1 spot. They have a 49-20 record and are improving, winning 6 of their last 10.
In their last game, the Detroit Pistons put on a marvelous display against the Los Angeles Lakers and came out on top, 111-97.
The Toronto Raptors also played the Los Angles Lakers in their most recent tie and won comfortably by a 111-98 scoreline.
Detroit Pistons: Point guard Reggie Jackson is considered day to day with an ankle injury.
Toronto Raptors: Point guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are both considered day to day with an ankle injury and a thumb injury respectively. Center Serge Ibaka is suspended until March 20th. Forward Danny Green is also day to day with an ankle injury.
Players to watch out for:
Detroit Pistons - Blake Griffin:
The Detroit Pistons are currently in the playoff spots thanks to some amazing basketball from a rejuvenated and reinvented Blake Griffin. He has been one of the best players for the Pistons ever since his arrival.
He has been on a roll, leading them to a lot of wins and changing his style of play to suit the modern NBA. He has now become more of a point forward, playmaking and scoring at will.
He has also developed a handy 3-point shot, shooting it at 36% this season, making defenders stick to him and creating space. He is averaging 24.7 points a game, along with 7.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists, something big men find difficult to do.
Even though he has been shooting poorly the past 3 games, under 40% from the field, the Pistons need him to find his shot as he will be required to lead from the front if they want a win over the Raptors.
Last game stats: 15 points, 3-12 FG, 2 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 TOs against the Los Angeles Lakers
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard:
Kawhi Leonard has been one of the trades of the season. The Raptors lost DeMar DeRozan, but Leonard has made the team title contenders. It seems like he is leading this team towards playoff glory, something Ujiri has been trying to accomplish all this time.
Trading for Leonard was a big risk as it was clear he wanted to move to LA and was a free agent the next summer, but he has enjoyed his time in Toronto and Ujiri might even be able to keep him for a while longer.
Leonard is averaging 27 points per game, along with 7.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals. Apart from his superb offensive game, the Klaw is renowned for his defensive awareness and that has helped the Raptors a lot. They need Leonard to perform at his best if they are to overcome an enthusiastic Pistons side tonight.
Last game stats: 25 points, 8-20 FG, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 4 TOs against the Los Angeles Lakers
Predicted starting lineups:
Detroit Pistons: Wayne Ellington (G), Bruce Brown (G), Langston Galloway (F), Blake Griffin (F), Andre Drummond (C)
Toronto Raptors: Jeremy Lin (G), OG Anunoby (G), Kawhi Leonard (F), Pascal Siakam (F), Marc Gasol (C)
Match Prediction: Toronto Raptors to beat the Detroit Pistons
This one is going to be a tough game to call due to the number of injuries that the Raptors are dealing with to key players. However, they have Kawhi and enough quality around him to take down the mediocre Pistons.
Blake Griffin cannot seem to hit a shot and Reggie Jackson too seems to be out for this one against the Raptors. The Raptors should be able to take this one, but it will be a close game.