AUBURN HILLS, Michigan, Jan. 6 (Ticker) --
The Detroit Pistons showed
why they have the NBA's best defense.
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On a night where they had trouble scoring, the Pistons used a
stifling defense down the stretch for an 82-74 victory over the
Toronto Raptors, who lost their 11th straight game.
"It's a big, disappointing loss for us," Raptors coach Lenny
Wilkens said. "We've been struggling. This would have been a
boost in the arm for us."
had season highs with 25 points and 11
rebounds for his first double-double for the Pistons, who closed
the game on an 11-1 run. Detroit entered the contest allowing
opponents a league-low 86.3 points per game.
"I think they're all hard to take but in the end you have to
look at the good side of things - we played hard, we didn't come
in here and just fold," said Raptors forward Jerome Williams
who registered 13 points and 15 rebounds. "We battled all the
way to the end. Their defense was really there in the fourth
quarter to make a difference for them and that's how they won
scored 16 points and Corliss Williamson
12 for Detroit, which shot just 44 percent (32-of-72) from the
field but limited Toronto to just under 40 percent (30-of-76) en
route to its 10th victory in 13 games.
"It was a hard-fought game," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said.
"I thought that Toronto really played hard the whole way. We
were a little sluggish in the first half but we were able to get
on track defensively when we had to in the second half,
particularly in the fourth quarter."
Toronto took a 73-71 lead on a tip by Antonio Davis
remaining before Hamilton tied the game with a bank shot 14
seconds later. Hamilton stole an errant pass from Alvin
Williams and made two free throws with 2:23 left to give Detroit
the lead for good.
"For 44 minutes, we played pretty good basketball," Wilkens
said. "We were talking on defense, really helping out, and the
couple of time you don't talk is when it jumps up and bites
blocked a jumper by former Piston Lindsey
and scored a layup on the other end to make it 77-73 with
After Davis made 1-of-2 free throws nine seconds later,
Robinson nailed a 3-pointer with 47 seconds to play that gave
the Pistons a six-point advantage. Hamilton closed the scoring
with two free throws with 29 seconds to play.
"We felt pretty good around the basket," said Robinson, who made
9-of-17 shots. "I was able to get some good looks that didn't
go down early and that kind of let me know that I was going to
be able to get to the basket. I was going by those guys and
getting to the middle of the paint on my post-ups. I felt
Davis contributed 21 points and Alvin Williams 14 for Toronto,
which lost its seventh straight road contest and 15th of 16
All-Star guard Vince Carter
missed his 15th consecutive game
with a strained right knee. The Raptors also are without
injured scorers Lamond Murray
and Voshon Lenard
"It's really difficult when you're missing your top guns out
there," Jerome Williams said. "That's how it is when you get
injuries like this like we've had on this team. We've just got
to put our heads down and keep working hard."
Despite using just eight players because of a variety of
injuries to the squad, Toronto led at halftime, 40-39, and took
a 56-55 edge into the fourth quarter.
"It's frustrating when you're losing because we want to get a
win," Said Raptors guard Mo Peterson, who scored just eight
points on 3-of-12 shooting. "It's tough. It's not easy but
we're giving it 110 percent and we're out there fighting and
putting ourselves in a position to win. Now it's just time to
cross that hurdle."