Brandon Jennings led the way in the Detroit Pistons’ road win over the Toronto Raptors earlier this month but won’t be available for this visit or perhaps any time soon.
His absence will provide the Pistons with a greater challenge as they attempt to bounce back from a blowout loss and avoid a third consecutive road defeat Sunday night.
Jennings had 34 points and 10 assists in a 114-111 win in Toronto on Jan. 12, the sixth of Detroit’s franchise record-tying seven in a row on the road. He’s now out for "the foreseeable future" after injuring his lower left leg – possibly his Achilles tendon – in the third quarter in Saturday’s 101-86 loss at Milwaukee.
"It doesn’t look good, but we’ll find out more (Sunday)," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He’s been the guy who has been sort of the catalyst offensively. … He was a huge factor in the previous 15 games. It’s a major, major loss."
The Pistons (17-27) are hoping D.J. Augustin can help make up for some of Jennings’ missing production. Augustin has averaged 8.4 points and 4.2 assists in 43 games while Jennings was averaging team highs of 15.4 points and 6.6 assists, including a career-high 21 assists in a win over Orlando on Wednesday.
"(Jennings is) a huge part of our team, and to lose somebody like that is really tough for us," forward Greg Monroe said.
Jennings had a team-best 16 points in his team’s fourth defeat in the last 16 games, and he’s averaged 23.8 points and 7.2 assists in his last five matchups with the Raptors (28-15).
He scored 20 points in the final 24 minutes to help Detroit rally from a 12-point halftime deficit in Toronto and end a four-game skid in the series. Jodie Meeks had 11 points in the fourth quarter, and Jonas Jerebko contributed eight of his 10 in that final period.
The Raptors have dropped four of six at home after a 14-3 start, but they capped a 2-1 road trip with a 91-86 victory over lowly Philadelphia on Friday.
Kyle Lowry scored 17 of his 21 points in the final quarter, when the Raptors rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 5 1/2 minutes for only their fourth win in 12 games.
"I’m glad we came back, but we can’t rely on that if we are serious about competing in this league,” said coach Dwane Casey, whose team opened with a 15-0 deficit. "We’ve got an air of complacency and I don’t like it. It’s everybody collectively. We have to come out with a better effort. We can’t come out and perform like that."
The Raptors led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter in Detroit on Dec. 19 in an eventual 110-100 victory. Jennings had a team-best 22 points for Detroit while Jonas Valanciunas led six Raptors players in double figures with 17.
Valanciunas had a career-high 31 points on 14-of-15 shooting and 12 rebounds in the loss to the Pistons earlier this month. He’s averaged 22.0 points on 65.8 percent shooting and 9.0 rebounds in his last three games against Detroit.
The Raptors are seeking to avoid their first three-game home losing streak since a four-game skid from Nov. 26-Dec. 10, 2013, their longest last season. The Pistons haven’t dropped three straight on the road since a four-game skid Nov. 15-Dec. 3.