There’s something distinctively timeless about the Detroit Pistons. Three-fifths of their starting lineup — Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace — were on the team in the 2002-03 season and were key factors in the Pistons winning the improbable 2004 NBA championship. Both the city’s auto industry and the franchise’s fortunes have fallen a great deal since those days but those three remain, for better or worse.
On the other hand, there’s something rather grim about having a trio of guys in their 30s in your starting lineup when you’re one of the worst teams in the NBA. The Raptors are arguably just as bad, but at least you can make the case that they have youth and potential on their side. The Pistons have played Tracy McGrady 17 minutes per game and he’s averaged four points per game, shot 44 percent from the field, 15 percent from beyond the arc and 52 percent from the free throw line. Even Penny Hardaway thinks that’s sad.
If you think I’m making the case that the Raptors should win this game easily, think again. The Pistons are 5-5 at home and the Raptors are 2-9 on the road. If the Raptors apply themselves, they should be able to break their four game streak of allowing their opponents to score at least 113 points, seeing as how the Pistons have only scored that many points in three of their 24 games.
Toronto: Jose Calderon will miss another game with a sore foot, meaning J-Bay gets another start.
Detroit: Jonas Jerebko and Terrico White are probably both out for the season.
1. Can Jerryd Bayless get over last night’s first-start jitters and improve on his underwhelming peformance?
2. Can DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems outplay their geriatric Pistons wing counterparts?
3. Will Amir Johnson use this opportunity to show Joe Dumars and Pistons fans what they shouldn’t have given up on?
4. Should the Raptors give Solomon Alabi some burn tonight, just for funsies?
5. If T-Mac joins Allen Iverson in Turkey and they film a reality show about it, will you watch?
Start time: 7:30 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jerryd Bayless, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
Detroit: Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell, Ben Wallace
Tonight’s pregame song is “Detroit Rock City” by KISS and the Melbourne Australia Symphony Orchestra. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this performance is more impressive than the one we’ll watch in Detroit tonight.