THE FACTS: The Detroit Pistons (25-50) defeated the Toronto Raptors (27-47) 108-98 in a game where ex-Raptor Jose Calderon returned to Toronto for the first time since the three-team trade on January 30 that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto.
Calderon was greeted by a standing ovation from the Air Canada Centre crowd and didn't disappoint, leading the Pistons offense and scored 19 points with nine assists. Greg Monroe had a team-high 24 points, 10 of which he scored in the third quarter, which Detroit started on a 14-3 run. But in a game where defense wasn't part of either team's game plan, (both teams shot over 50 percent from the field) the Raptors rallied back and took a 79-75 lead into the fourth quarter.
However, it was the Pistons reserves that made the difference scoring 29 of the team's 33 points in the quarter, more importantly making stops, as the Raptors could only muster 19 points shooting 6-for-19 in the final frame. The Detroit bench was powered by Rodney Stuckey's 18 points, Jonas Jerebko's 15 and Khris Middleton's 11 points, who closed out the game on a 15-4 run.
Gay scored a season-high 34 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 17 points and five blocked shots, while DeMar DeRozan scored 17 points with seven rebounds. With the win, the Pistons tied the season series at two games apiece.
QUOTABLE: "When I played two days ago, it was nothing similar, it was just a game. It was fun cause it was my teammates on the other side, but tonight, I had that weird feeling from this morning and coming to this place, it was better than expected."
-- Calderon on the difference between playing the Raptors in Detroit versus in Toronto.
THE STAT: The Pistons got more out of their reserves, particularly at crunch time, where they scored 29 points alone in the fourth quarter. Detroit's bench outscored Toronto in that regard 51-17 with three of their players going for double-digits.
TURNING POINT: Both teams made runs, but this game was back and forth up until the...fourth quarter when defense made the difference, but Jerebko's put-back dunk with 33.1 seconds left gave the Pistons a 105-98 lead ending any designs of a Raptors comeback.
QUOTABLE II: "I thought that fourth quarter group was tremendous. Great ball movement, really good spacing, very unselfish basketball, defensively for a game where both teams struggled to defend to get stops, each of those guys really impacted the game."
-- Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank on his team's fourth quarter.
HOT: Gay started this game hot and didn't let up, shooting 6-for-7 from the field for 14 points, with five points and four rebounds. He finished the contest going 13-for-18 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the three-point line for a season-high 34 points, to go along with five assists and six rebounds.
NOTABLE: Pistons forward, Jason Maxiell underwent season-ending surgery on Sunday for a detached retina, while Will Bynum was inactive due to a right hand strain.
Raptors forward Landry Fields was out of the line-up, going for follow-up testing on a tingling sensation on his right elbow, the same elbow he had nerve surgery on in November. Both teams were playing the second game of a back-to-back, both suffered losses in the first. Detroit has won two games in their last 15, while Toronto has lost seven of their last eight.
UP NEXT: For the Raptors; Wednesday vs. Washington, Friday @ Minnesota and Saturday at Milwaukee. For the Pistons; Wednesday @ Boston, Friday @ Minnesota and Sunday vs. Chicago.