Heading into their fourth game of the season the Raptors know it’s time to start focusing on defence Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET) as they host the Detroit Pistons.
After a promising start to the season with a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto (1-2) has dropped two in a row, ceding 115 points to the Memphis Grizzlies and 125 to the Magic.
“We didn’t do the things defensively that we’ve been talking about since the preseason,” veteran forward Chris Bosh said after the loss to Orlando. “Have all contested shots and give them one rebound.”
Toronto had only a total of two steals and six blocked shots against the Magic.
Head coach Jay Triano will also want to emphasize rebounding, particularly on offence.
In their last game, Toronto was out-worked on the offensive boards by the Magic 14-9. They are currently ranked 21st in the National Basketball Association in recovering the ball.
The Dinos will get an opportunity to find their defensive backbone Wednesday night against the 2-2 Pistons.
Detroit will need to keep up constant pressure on offence, something that has been a problem for them in their first four games.
“When teams go on a run, instead of us staying with what we were doing in the first half,” said former Raptors’ first round pick Charlie Villanueva. “It seems like we get away from that and lose a little bit of focus.”
Injuries have already started to pile up for the Pistons, reflecting their older lineup.
Tayshaun Prince, a mainstay of the lineup for years, will miss the game in Toronto to rest a sore back. Up until Tuesday night’s game with Orlando the veteran forward played 496 consecutive games.
Richard Hamilton will be a game-time decision for the Pistons, having already missed three games this season with a sprained right foot.
One thing Raptors fans can rely on is that their team can score.
Bosh is off to a hot start, averaging 31 points-per-game, while Andrea Bargnani is coming into his own, averaging 22 scores each night.
Bargnani has become a 3-point threat this year, making eight treys so far this season, with a solid 61.5 shooting percentage.
After playing the Pistons, Toronto will spend most of the next three weeks on the road, with seven of their next eight games outside the friendly confines of the ACC. Their first stop will be this Friday in New Orleans.
Detroit will head south for a rubber match in Orlando.