The Toronto Raptors had already secured the top spot in the Atlantic Division as they headed into Detroit with only the battle for third place overall in the Eastern Conference to shoot for. The Pistons are locked into the eighth spot for the NBA Draft Lottery and are playing out the string. Their top 8 protected first round draft pick belonging to the Bobcats is almost certainly going to be theirs to keep.
The game started out as should have been expected, the Raptors scored a season high 42 points in the first quarter against one of the NBA’s worst defenses and then seemed to lose their intensity. The Pistons fought back from 18 points down and even briefly took a lead in the fourth quarter before Toronto ramped things back up again to win 116-107.
The play in this game became sloppy and inconsistent and even the referees seemed to have trouble concentrating. Kyle Lowry was fouled out on successive lazy calls by the referees who couldn’t bother to pay attention long enough to get it right. Lowry was fouled out when Drummond tripped over his own feet all by himself. No one on either team had touched him, he just lost his balance. If the referee had of been actually watching the play instead of not paying attention, he would have gotten the non-call, nothing happened situation, right. It must be almost the end of the regular season and some of the referees – along with any number of the players – have one foot on the plane heading out on vacation already.
With their 47th victory, the Raptors tied the franchise mark for wins in a season with games against the Bucks and the Knicks left to go. A new record should be in the books by the end of the regular season. It was also Toronto’s 22nd road victory, further extending their franchise’s best season on the road and first time this team will end a season over .500 away from the friendly confines of the Air Canada Centre.
Once again, it was Lowry with 28 points and DeMar DeRozan with 30 points who did the heavy lifting for Head Coach Dwane Casey. Casey, however, played 11 different players double-digit minutes and it was only in part caused by a very strange whistle from the officials. The Raptors coach has made a point of saying he was going to be watching the minutes of his main guys. The games that count haven’t started yet.
Jonas Valanciunas contributed 18 points and 8 boards. Greivis Vasquez scored 14 points off the bench and was key to the Raptors offense after Lowry fouled out. Chuck Hayes grabbed 10 rebounds in 14 minutes.
All of the Pistons starters scored in double-digits. Andre Drummond had 14 points and 17 rebounds as the Pistons dominated the Raptors on the glass 55-40, but allowed Toronto to shoot 48.1 percent from the field, those stats in a loss kind of summing up the entire Pistons season.
Soon-to-be restricted free agent Greg Monroe had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Jennings had 17 points, but took 18 shots to get them.
Toronto Raptors Love Being Atlantic Division Champs
“We won the Division, it’s a great thing,” Salmons said. “Us four guys coming over from Sacramento from where we started, from where the Raptors started at the beginning of the season to where we are now, it’s a great thing.”
Amir Johnson Gives Back To Raptors Fans Big Time Again
“It’s big just letting the fans know they are part of the team,” Johnson said. “They are just as big as players – they are pretty much what makes this team. They have been supporting us since day one, so it is just a token of my appreciation to the fans.”