Detroit (11-18) at Toronto (14-17)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Dec 27, 2009
  • TV: FSD, CBC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Though largely a defensively challenged team, the Toronto Raptors are enjoying one of their best stretches of the season. Facing the injury-riddled Detroit Pistons certainly hasn’t hurt.

After holding the Pistons to one of their worst offensive performances, the Raptors look to sweep this home-and-home series Sunday and win four straight for the first time this season.

Toronto (14-17) has been terrible defensively, giving up an Eastern Conference-worst 106.2 points per game. The Raptors had allowed less than 88 points only once all season entering a matchup with the Pistons (11-18) on Wednesday night, but held them to 27.9 percent shooting in a 94-64 victory.

It was the second-fewest points allowed by the Raptors, who surrendered 54 in a win over Miami on March 19, 2008. Toronto, which snapped an 11-game skid at Detroit, improved to 11-0 this season when holding teams under 100 points.

The Raptors have played some of their best defense over their three-game winning streak, limiting each team to 95 points or fewer and a combined 9 of 47 from 3-point range (19.1 percent). Toronto has held three straight opponents under 100 points for the first time this season.

The Raptors held the Pistons to their lowest point total since the shot clock was implemented for the 1954-55 season. Detroit had 64 points in a loss to San Antonio on Feb. 21, 1999, and in a win over Utah on March 13, 2005.

With Ben Gordon(notes) (ankle), Richard Hamilton(notes) (hamstring) and Tayshaun Prince(notes) (back) all out, Pistons starters combined to shoot 11 for 42 (26.1 percent) in the team’s sixth straight loss.

Detroit isn’t likely to get much help soon. Hamilton and Prince will not play, and Gordon is listed as questionable.

“That’s not a reason for us to play like this,” point guard Chucky Atkins(notes) said. “We won five straight games with those guys out, but we aren’t playing as a team right now. We aren’t moving the ball at all.”

Detroit has 22 assists over the last two games, compared to 48 for its opponents.

Wednesday marked the second straight game in which the Pistons were held to a season low in points. They scored 76 at Charlotte a day earlier, and have been held under 90 in four of their last five contests.

“When we are missing that many guys, doing the small things becomes paramount,” coach John Kuester said. “We’re trying to keep things as simple as possible, but it isn’t working.”

Kuester’s team has lost nine of 10 on the road, getting held below 100 points in each game.

Regardless of injuries, the Pistons can usually count on their perimeter defense, but even that part of their game has been poor. Detroit is holding teams to 33.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc, but the Raptors and Bobcats combined to make 51.5 percent (17 for 33).

Toronto is shooting 35.8 percent from 3-point range on the season. Hedo Turkoglu(notes) has been the Raptors’ top shooter from long range, making 40.6 percent, and he’s 11 for 21 over his last six games.

The 6-foot-10 forward is also averaging 8.3 assists over his last three contests.

“If I’ve got the ball in my hands, I’ll make sure the guys get the best shots,” Turkoglu said. “That’s teamwork.”

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Sunday, Dec 27