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Can a different starting lineup change Detroit Pistons fortunes vs. Toronto?

Essentials

Teams: Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors

Date: Jan. 14, 2011

Time: 7 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 12-26

Raptors: 13-25

Probable starters

Pistons:

Raptors:

  • Jose Calderon
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Linas Kleiza
  • Amir Johnson
  • Andrea Bargnani

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +5.5

Over/under: 205.5

Score: Raptors win, 105.5-100

Three things to watch

1. New starting lineup = new success vs. Toronto?

The Pistons finally beat Toronto in their last meeting this season after the Raptors embarrassed Detroit in three previous meetings dating back to last season. I’m not sure the new look starting lineup matches up all that well defensively, though. Toronto always scores well against the Pistons, but one thing starting McGrady, Wilcox and Monroe should give the Pistons is better offense, so hopefully they can keep pace if Toronto’s shooters are on.

2. DeMar DeRozan is ballin’

The biggest positive for Toronto this season has to be DeRozan’s development over the last month or so. He’s been over 20 points in four of their last seven games, including efforts of 37 (career high), 28 and 27 points. He’s the type of lanky athletic wing that the Pistons often struggle with (see: Gay, Rudy), and it wouldn’t be surprising to see DeRozan have a big game if he comes out aggressive.

3. Hamilton watch

After getting called a buffoon for sitting Hamilton, John Kuester wouldn’t dare sit him again, would he? Say what you will about Kuester’s coaching ability, but he’s made his share of tough calls this year that probably weren’t popular in the locker room. The Pistons haven’t had a coach willing to be the bad guy so openly in quite a while.

Pregame reading

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