These guys, again? Doesn’t it seem like the Raptors and Pistons have played each other, like, twice already this season? Oh wait, they have. Tonight will mark the third time since Dec. 11 they’ve battled and the season series stands at a win apiece so far.
What makes this game worth watching if you’re not a fan of one of the teams — or even if you are? Personally, I’m intrigued and borderline astonished by the rejuvenation of one Tracy Lamar McGrady, Jr. Including the game he went off for 17/7/7 against the Raptors a few weeks ago, T-Mac is averaging 11.7 points, five assists, four rebounds and shooting 51 percent in 28 minutes per game. I should point out that he’s doing this on a veteran’s minimum contract. Did anybody see that coming? Obviously not, or else he wouldn’t have ended up on the Pistons on a vet-min, right?
Joseph Casciaro is hangin’ with his fam tonight and I’ll be at the stag party of the beloved Raptorman so the recap for this game might not be posted until tomorrow morning. This week has been a little chaotic on the blog what with my insides trying to leave my body for a good part of the week, but I expect we’ll return to our regular posting schedule next week.
Toronto: Sonny Weems is still out, Jerryd Bayless is questionable and Amir Johnson is probable for tonight.
Detroit: Ben Wallace is questionable after twisting his ankle on the opening tipoff against the Bulls on Monday. Jonas Jerebko is expected to be out until mid-February recovering from Achilles surgery.
1. Did you know that McGrady and Vince Carter have the same middle name? More specifically, am I the only person who has been a fan of the Raptors for the entire existence of their franchise that didn’t know this?
2. How great of a story would it have been if the Raptors had signed McGrady this past off-season and he made his comeback in Toronto?
3. OK, one more T-Mac question — isn’t he better than any small forward on Toronto’s roster?
4. Is Pistons’ coach John Kuester going to last the season? After Rip Hamilton received the first DNP-CD of his Pistons career on Wednesday, Tayshaun Prince referred to Kuester’s decision as “buffoonery”.
5. Since he’s probably available, should the Raptors look into acquiring Hamilton if it means being able to shed the extra year of Jose Calderon’s contract?
Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
Detroit: Rodney Stuckey, Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Chris Wilcox, Greg Monroe
Joseph wanted me to use the legendary Pistons Jingle Bells video featuring Amir Johnson for our pregame song but he should have suggested that when the Raptors and Pistons played in December. So I’m sticking with Detroit standby The White Stripes and “Blue Orchid”.