TORONTO – Pistons head coach Dwane Casey will return to face his former team, the Toronto Raptors, for the first time on Wednesday night.
Casey, who was fired at the end of last season despite being named NBA Coach of the Year, will bring his 6-6 team to face the Eastern Conference leading Raptors in Toronto.
The Pistons, after starting 4-0, have won only two of their last eight games, losing most recently to the Charlotte Hornets in Detroit on Sunday.
Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said it'll be odd to face his old coach.
"It's going to be different, but hey, I'm still going to try to take his head off, the team's head off," Lowry said with a laugh to ESPN.
"(Our relationship) changed a lot," Lowry said. "It went from a guy who kind of wasn't trusting in what I did, and me not trusting in what he wanted, and kind of us battling back and forth, to him being like, 'Hey listen, I believe in what you can do, you show me what you can do,' and me saying 'All right, if you show me that and I've showed you what I can do, I'll listen to you more and we'll have a good relationship.'
"It turned into a great coach-player relationship. And him having young kids, and me having ... they played soccer together, so we created a bond off the court also."
The Raptors have a video tribute planned for Casey's return, which will play early in the game. Tip off is at 7:30 p.m. EST.
During tenure with Raptors
As head coach of the Raptors from 2011-2018, Casey compiled a 320-238 (.573) regular-season record and led the Raptors to a franchise-record five consecutive playoff appearances, including a trip to the 2016 Eastern Conference finals.
The all-time winningest coach in Raptors history, Casey led Toronto to the franchise’s first 50-win season in 2015-16, recorded 50-plus wins in each of the last three seasons and posted a franchise-record 59 wins in 2017-18, earning the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto won four Atlantic Division titles during Casey’s tenure. He was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month five times and, last February, became the first coach in Raptors history to be selected to coach in the NBA All-Star game.