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    AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 18 (Ticker) -- Jerry Stackhouse scored 21 points as Detroit Pistons handed the reeling Toronto Raptors their fifth straight loss, 89-76.

    Vince Carter went on the injured list after straining his left quadriceps in Toronto's win over San Antonio on Feb. 7. The Raptors have not won since, but Carter is eligible to return Wednesday against Charlotte.

    On Monday, the Raptors whittled a 72-56 deficit entering the fourth quarter to 78-70 on a layup by Tracy Murray with 6:33 left. But Stackhouse countered with a steal and reverse dunk, and Detroit led by double digits thereafter.

    Ben Wallace had 13 points and 13 rebounds for Detroit, which won for the 10th time in its last 12 games. Clifford Robinson added 16 points for the Pistons, who opened a two-game lead over the Raptors for the fourth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

    "Ben Wallace hit some big shots in the first quarter," Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "He delivered for us early and (had) another strong night on the boards. Any time he gets you double-figure points to go along with the rebounds, it ususally adds up to a winning effort for the team."

    Antonio Davis had 21 points, tying his season high, and 14 rebounds for the Raptors, who dropped their fourth consecutive road contest. Keon Clark chipped in 14 and 12.

    "I see the light because we're competing," Davis said. "We're not waiting for guys to come back. I hate losing, but you feel us coming together. We're starting to gel. I think right now we just want a win."

    Detroit shot 48 percent (35-of-73) and limited Toronto to 43 percent (34-of-80).

    "I think we're playing what our game is, and that is to be a defensive team first, to play a physical-style game," Carlisle said. "We happen to have a group of guys that takes some pride in playing defense. A lot of teams don't like playing the defensive end of the floor. There are guys on our team that really like the challenge."

    "Detroit made some great shots," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. "Sometimes we helped too much and they made some wide-open shots, but give them credit, they played well."

    Detroit closed the first quarter on a 14-6 run to take a 23-17 lead. The Pistons shot 61 percent (11-of-18) and the Raptors just 36 percent (8-of-22) through 12 minutes of play.

    "I thought we came with good energy at the beginning of the game," Stackhouse said. "They made some shots, they made some tough plays and we still had a close game, but we felt like we were in control of the game because we were playing with a lot of force from the beginning."

    Detroit extended its advantage to 50-39 at halftime and led by as many as 17 points late in the third quarter.

    "We put ourselves in a good position," said Robinson, whose team moved into a first-place tie with Milwaukee atop the Central Division after Charlotte defeated the Bucks on Monday. "We don't have to just think about slipping into one of the last playoff spots. We can start thinking about a top spot and maybe even catching Milwaukee. Our expectations are going up."

    In addition to Carter, the Raptors were missing the injured Dell Curry, Jerome Williams and Hakeem Olajuwon.

    "We just got to play our way through it," Wilkens said. "It's sounds old, but when you have as many people out as we do, hey, it's a fact and we've gotta just keep working hard. I do see good things."

    This was the third meeting between the division rivals this season. Each team defeated the other on the road in the previous two games.