One of the weirdest ongoing trends in the NBA has been how much the lowly Pistons have dominated the Raptors since hiring Dwane Casey. It probably isn’t all that weird given how things ended with Casey and the Raptors, but the Pistons are looking to win their 7th straight game against the Raptors and 10 of the 13 games they have played against the Raptors since hiring Casey.
The Raptors are better and the Pistons are currently on a 3-game losing streak, but if there was one game on the Pistons schedule that I would bet on them to win, it is this one.
The Pistons are in need of a win to get things back on track from their early season struggles, and this might be their only winnable game for the foreseeable future.
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Monday, November 14 at 7 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Raptors (-6)
We will be robbed of the Cade Cunningham-Scottie Barnes battle, as Cunningham will be out for the next few games due to a shin injury. Both players have bright futures and provide exactly what both of these teams need, but it would have been fun to watch them prove why each should have been Rookie of the Year.
Instead, we will get the highly anticipated Bojan Bogdanovic and Scottie Barnes matchup. Given how much of a threat Bogdanovic is as a scorer with Cade out, I would expect the Raptors to put Barnes on him to try to slow him down. He is coming off a 28 point game against the Celtics on Saturday, and is currently the Pistons leading scorer at 20.3 points per game.
One thing the Pistons have going in their favor to aid them in pulling off yet another upset is that the Raptors will be without Pascal Siakam. Siakam has been impressive in the early parts of this season as a do-it-all offensive creator for the Raptors. He probably wasn’t going to be receiving any MVP votes, but his numbers are definitely on an MVP level in the early parts of this season.
Another player who could be out is Fred VanVleet. He missed the Raptors’ last game with a non-COVID illness. Everything that I have found says he will still be out, but we will have to wait and see if that is actually the case.
If both players are out, it makes the Pistons task of upsetting the Raptors a lot less daunting. However, the Raptors have depth and are still the better team even without both of those players. Especially with the Pistons being without Cade Cunningham.
Jaden Ivey is coming off the best game of his young career after being a bit overwhelmed as the main offensive initiator against the Knicks on Friday. On Saturday against the Celtics, Ivey had 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. The most impressive part of that performance was his 4-of-6 mark from beyond the arc. Shooting is the swing skill for Ivey and if he can become an average 3-point shooter, the future is bright. Hopefully he can build off of that game and continue to keep himself in the Rookie of the Year conversation.
Another player trending in the right direction for the Pistons is Killian Hayes. After a couple of solid games, he was given the opportunity to start against the Celtics and had one of the better all-around games of his career with 15 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Hayes still has a long ways to go, but stringing together 3 double digit scoring games is huge for him with how much he has struggled to score the ball.
If both of them show up and the Pistons continue to get better bench production with the return of Marvin Bagley and Alec Burks, it would not be surprising for the Pistons to pull off another win over the Raptors. With the Pistons departing on a West Coast road trip after this game, it will do a lot of good to have the positive momentum of another win over the Raptors.
Detroit Pistons (3-11): Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart
Toronto Raptors (7-7): Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent, OG Anunoby, Thaddeus Young, Christian Koloko
Do you like the early season West Coast road trips to get it out of the way, even though the Pistons tend to struggle on the West coast?