Toronto (27-23) at Detroit (30-18)

Fair Currently: Auburn Hills, MI
Temp: 40° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Sat Feb 10, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chris Webber is a big reason the Detroit Pistons have the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Led by their most recent addition, the Pistons (30-18) will try for a sixth straight win Saturday when they host Toronto Raptors in a matchup of division leaders.

Though the Raptors (27-23) are 9-16 on the road and have lost their last six at The Palace of Auburn Hills, they will be trying for a season-high sixth straight win. Toronto leads the Atlantic Division by 3 1/2 games over second-place New Jersey.

Detroit is 9-2 with Webber in the starting lineup since he was signed by his hometown team last month after being waived by Philadelphia, where he was unhappy with his situation.

“It’s only going to get better,’” said Webber, who had 18 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in Detroit’s 93-78 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

Webber, who will turn 34 on March 1, is averaging 13.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 12 games with Detroit and has three double-doubles. His presence has had an effect on the rest of the Pistons. With his ability to pass at 6-foot-10, Webber’s teammates are more aggressive moving to the basket without the ball.

Rasheed Wallace had 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Lakers, while Tayshaun Prince had 20 for the Pistons, who had 28 assists, two nights after recording 32 in a win over Boston.

“You can definitely attribute that to Webber,” point guard Chauncey Billups. “It’s a lot of fun. People are getting dunks and a lot of wide-open looks.”

Detroit has won four straight and five of its last six at home.

“We’re getting there,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders told the team’s official Web site.”We still have a long way to go. I think we’re getting into a pretty good rhythm overall. It’s probably the best we’ve played, but we still have a lot of room to keep improving. That’s the positive thing.”

While with the Sixers, Webber had 14 points and 13 rebounds in a 106-104 loss on Nov. 8. Philadelphia led by one when Webber knocked the ball away from Chris Bosh with time running out. Bosh retrieved the ball and sank the go-ahead 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds to play.

Toronto extended its winning streak with a 96-92 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. The Raptors have won 14 of their last 18 to match their win total from last season.

“This is a lot different from last year,” Bosh said. “Last year guys got rattled a little bit and made mistakes. We’re just moving the ball so well and relying on one another.”

Bosh, averaging 23.4 points, exceeded that for the eighth straight game with 29 points on 12-for-16 shooting. He scored five of Toronto’s last 10 points after Los Angeles tied the game, and finished with 11 rebounds for his 22nd double-double.

The All-Star had a season-high 37 points last season in a 113-106 loss at Detroit on Dec. 27, 2005. He managed a total of just 27 points in two games after that and missed Toronto’s only win in the season series on April 14 with a thumb injury that sidelined him for the final 12 games.

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Saturday, Feb 10