The Toronto Raptors didn’t face a whole lot of resistance from a disappointing Detroit Pistons team that really looked like they would have rather been somewhere else and Toronto coasted to the 101-87 win taking a significant amount of time off during this game themselves.
The Raptors starters began laying a beating on the disinterested Pistons early and the 29-21 first quarter lead should have been at least 2 points higher except Toronto missed their last 4 shots of the quarter and Tyler Hansbrough blew an easy layup just before time expired. This story line became something of a theme for the night as the Raptors second unit minus Patrick Patterson was decidedly out of sync.
Toronto missed their first 5 shots of the second quarter allowing the Pistons to tie the game at 29 before Head Coach Dwane Casey had enough and started making changes. Not to worry, the Pistons were not really all that interested in a comeback and the Raptors lead was back up to 8 points in a couple of minutes.
“I thought our second unit was playing in mud a little bit,” Casey said. “We need to keep the pace going. I thought the game slowed down and that’s the unit that really gave us a boost in Brooklyn and for whatever reason tonight they kind of got stagnant and lost a couple of leads.”
The middle two quarters saw the Pistons take advantage of the Raptors second unit to wipe out double-digit leads and keep the score respectable, but in the fourth quarter, Toronto turned it back on like a switch, this game was never in doubt.
The Pistons have issues and the biggest one might be a defense that seems to vanish after a couple of passes or the most common of basketball plays.
Amir Johnson had a field day blowing by Greg Monroe who just couldn’t keep track of the Raptors power forward. Johnson finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds.
Andre Drummond often looked overmatch by the Raptors young center Jonas Valanciunas who had 8 points and 13 boards. Valanciunas generally just looked like he knew where to go and what to do and Drummond didn’t.
Monroe had 13 points and 10 boards and Drummond had 16 points and 9 rebounds, but neither player had much of a positive impact.
The Raptors were packing the paint and Brandon Jennings did take advantage of the situation by scoring 24 points on 10-15 shooting. Toronto read the scouting report that says Jennings is shooting 37.4 percent from the field this year and he is the guy you want to keep hoisting away, but in this game, Jennings scored 15 points on 8 shots in the third quarter to keep his team within reach of a comeback that was never going to happen.
DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 25 points and Kyle Lowry kicked in 19 points for the Raptors.
Toronto was +30 points with DeRozan in the game. The Pistons were -33 points while Drummond was playing. Those 2 stats largely sum up what was witnessed during this contest. Unexpectedly, the Raptors dominated the Pistons on the glass 54-39 as well, but that result would only surprise someone who hadn’t watched the game.
The 25-40 Pistons haven’t won a game on the road in over a month and return home to face the Pacers before heading out on a 4 game Western Conference road trip. Detroit’s pain isn’t about to end anytime soon.
The 36-27 Raptors play their next 2 games at home where they are 19-12. On Friday they play the Grizzlies who they beat 103-87 in November and on Sunday they face the Suns who they lost to 106-97 in the game before the Rudy Gay trade.
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Raptors Jonas Valanciunas Owes A Lot To Jamaal Magloire
“Jamaal, he gives me a lot,” Valanciunas said. “It is good to go against him because he’s physical, really strong and he’s a veteran. He knows how to defend me, so it is best to practice against him because it is really hard.”