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Can Amir Johnson show the Pistons what they are missing tonight just like Darko Milicic did last night?

Essentials

Teams: Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons

Date: Dec. 11, 2010

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 7-17

Raptors: 8-15

Probable starters

Pistons:

Raptors:

  • Jose Calderon
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Sonny Weems
  • Amir Johnson
  • Andrea Bargnani

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons – 1.5

Over/under: 200

Score: Pistons win, 100.75-99.25

Three things to watch

1. Andrea Bargnani murdered the Pistons last year.

Bargnani averaged about 23 points per game against Detroit and shot nearly 60 percent in three games last season. The Pistons simply refused to guard him out to the 3-point line most of those games, and there was a good reason for it. When they did guard him out to the line, he put the ball on the floor and drove past all of their big men. It helped him last year that Detroit paid so much attention to Chris Bosh in those games, but if they don’t keep Bargnani relatively in check and the game becomes and up-and-down game, the Pistons can’t win.

2. What will Amir do?

For the second straight night, the Pistons face a former Piston big man project in Amir Johnson. Last night, Darko Milicic blocked seven shots and looked great defensively. Johnson has been starting for the Raptors and playing well, averaging 9 points, 6 boards and a block in about 21 minutes a night while shooting 59 percent.

Johnson had one of his best games of last season against the Pistons because he’s athletic and loves to run the floor. The Pistons bigs are still deficient when it comes to chasing opposing bigs who like to run, so Amir could have another good performance tonight if he comes out with energy. The key, as always, is to get him in foul trouble. He’s still averaging nearly 4 fouls per game in those 21 minutes he’s playing.

3. Can Stuckey bounce back?

I’m not talking about his offense. Stuckey had a terrible defensive effort against Minnesota’s Luke Ridnour last night. The Raptors have a point guard similar to Ridnour in Jose Calderon. Calderon is steady, doesn’t turn it over much, runs their offense well and is a great 3-point shooter who is not afraid to pull up and shoot early in the shot clock if you fall asleep on him as Stuckey did against Ridnour last night. If Calderon is able to gash up the Pistons defense the way Ridnour did, the Raptors have enough good shooters to make this game get out of hand really quickly.

Pregame Reading

8 Comments

  • Dec 11, 20105:05 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Out of all teams that I didn’t expect to have a better record than the Pistons, Toronto was at the top of my list.

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  • Dec 11, 20107:31 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    ditto, vince. i think they were the one team in the league i had a feeling we were better than, though i’d never overestimate the pistons by assuming we weren’t the absolute worst (looks like a bleak future ahead, too. which most of the worst teams in the league can’t necessarily say). calderon’s out for this one, so it’ll be fun to see how badly stuckey compares to yet another reserve PG.

  • Dec 11, 20108:14 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    Ben Wallace is in the zone…give the man the ball and get out of the way! Has it come to this that the best we have looked is by running an iso for him…sad sad sad :-(

  • Dec 11, 20109:25 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    We couldn’t defend a wet paper bag but at least we look good on offense when we get out and run. I seriously hope Kuester keeps the tempo close to what we are playing to tonight. It wont happen though.

  • Dec 11, 20109:54 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    OK this is embarrassing, a 43 point 2nd quarter pushing the lead out to 25+ then letting them go on a 5-0 run to end the 3rd and then a 7-0 run to start the 4th. 110-107 with 2.24 to play…this sux!

  • Dec 11, 201011:17 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    … Wow. Did I just read that scoreboard right? Damn… Thats embarrassing, leading by 25? Losing by 4…. At home? Really? Well at least Big Ben played well, too bad his and T-Mac’s threes didn’t count… too bad as well that our defense is that terrible that the Raptors, who aren’t known for their road record, beat us at home after trailing by as much as 25… I think we might as well roll over and die, and call this season bust, I’m looking forward to the draft. You know you have problems when Barg gets his way on the perimeter and you lose against Toronto AT HOME. Too bad we had to waste Big Ben’s effort on such a demoralising loss.

  • Dec 13, 20101:43 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    nobody’s going to read this because i think i’m the only one who goes back to earlier posts, but before you think of this as a 4 point loss, you may as well consider that it was 7 before ben wallace beat the buzzer. so… there’s that.

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