The Toronto Raptors, victims of a blown call in their last outing which was a one-point loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, will return to action to try to get things turned around on Friday night.
The Raptors are in Motown when they take on the struggling Pistons.
Here are a few things to consider ahead of tonight’s game:
Bargnani’s ups and downs
Andrea Bargnani looked like he has returned to form on Wednesday when he dropped in 25 points on the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday but was the performance an outlier or has he got his groove back?
The big fella shot better than 50 per cent from the field but still only grabbed one board. He did look a little better at his own end of the floor as well.
The Raptors aren’t counting on him for his rebounding but do need him to heat up at the other end if they are going to get this season back on track.
The battle of the bigs
If Detroit decides to play big and pair Greg Monroe with rookie seven-footer Andre Drummond that could pose problems for the Raptors defensively.
Jonas Valanciunas, who also had a strong performance Wednesday, will be put to the test and Bargnani is going to have to block out if they will be successful.
Drummond has only been playing around 15 minutes per game but has been shooting an impressive 68.1 percent from the field.
Calling out the refs
As noted, the Raptors were shortchanged by the officials on Wednesday when they missed a foul call in the closing seconds which resulted in an airball from Bargnani, which should have instead been a pair of free throws in a one-point loss.
This is not the first time that questionable calls have been made that went against the Raptors this season.
For example, in the Raptors opener, the officials made a questionable decision on an out-of-bounds play that resulted in the ball being awarded to the Indiana Pacers. It should have been called a jump ball. Not a big deal in isolation but the tough calls have been tipping the scales against the Raptors.
That said, a lot is being made of these poor calls but as Dwane Casey told the Toronto Sun after Wednesday’s game, “There’s no moral victories. I’m proud of the way we fought, but we’ve had too many of these games where we’ve shot ourselves in the foot or not made our own breaks.”
It is unfair but the Raptors need to get to the point where a blown call is not going to cost them a game.
A Frank question
Detroit has opened the season with just two wins in 12 attempts but have shown signs of life as of late with a pair of wins in their last four starts.
Part of the blame for the slow start could rest on the team’s unconventional starting five of Monroe, Tayshaun Prince, Brandon Knight, Jason Maxiell and Kyle Singler.
The starters were not clicking to open the second half in Detroit’s last start against the Orlando Magic which left Prince openly questioning coach Lawarence Frank’s decision to leave his starters in the game.
“If I was coach, I would have made the decision sooner than what he did,” Prince told the Detroit Free Press.
“6-0 run, call time-out. Bam, bam and we come back out and nothing happens the second time. Bam,” Prince said while snapping his fingers for emphasis.
Frank is a strong coach and hopefully this isn’t a sign that he is losing the locker room in Detroit.