Anthony Laksmana December 23, 2009
Palace of Auburn Hills
The Detroit Pistons came out strong and looked ready to take full advantage of a slow start by the Raptors. But after a quick substitution made by head coach Jay Triano on Hedo Turkoglu for Sonny Weems, the Raptors were able to pick up their energy on the defensive end and shut down their short-handed opponent.
After the end of every quarter, the lead continued to grow for the Raptors. The energy and intensity on the defensive end was constant throughout the game and the Raptors were able to capitalize on a depleted and tired Pistons squad, who was coming off a loss to the Charlotte Bobcats the previous night.
It was their 3rd straight win and yet again, it was a total team effort that got the Raptors a win. It was a balanced attack with coach Triano going with a 9-man rotation for most of the night.
Jarrett Jack, Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani gave the Raptors the offense they needed, Amir Johnson provided the defense and shot-blocking (4), Marco Bellinelli came off the bench with 9 points and Weems got more rebounds (8) than points (6). Great ball movement and a total commitment on defense led the Raptors to a fairly easy win against Detroit.
Jarrett Jack has played exceptionally well for the Raptors, just as he has been since filling in as the starting point guard for injured Jose Calderon.
Jack has brought the leadership as well as the toughness needed at the PG spot for the Raptors. He played a huge part in shutting down the best player currently for the Pistons, Rodney Stuckey, who went just 3-13 on the night while only getting 3 assists. Stuckey wasn't the only PG to struggle against Toronto; both Devin Harris and Chris Paul had tough nights in their teams' losses, scoring only 8 and 10 points, respectively.
The Raptors have the reputation around the league as an easy team to beat who doesn't play much defense. But during their current 3-game winning streak, the Raptors have played some of their best defense all season long.
The Pistons, who only shot 27.9% from the field tonight, have struggled to score the ball as of late. Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton are still out with injuries and Charlie Villanueva, playing with a hurt foot, failed to score in 12 minutes of play. When your best player, Rodney Stuckey, scores only 8 points in the game, you know it's going to be a long night if you're a Detroit Piston.
"We've talked all day and in the last couple of days about the importance of the game and how much more exciting it would going into a break with a win. I thought we were very focused and we did the right things. We defended, we shared the basketball, our assist-to-field goal ratio was very high, especially early in the game. We're a pretty tough team when we share the ball."
Sun., Dec. 27 vs.
Detroit 1:00 PM ET (CBC, FAN 590)
The Raptors (14-17) hook up against the Pistons (11-18) again for the third time this season. This game marks the first home-and-home series for the Raptors this season. The Raptors will not play the Pistons again until April 12, 2010. Their win on Wednesday night snapped a 11-game losing streak in Detroit. The last win by the Raptors in Detroit was on April 2, 2003. Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton did not dress as they are still recovering from injuries. Ben Gordon did however suit up for the Pistons, but did not see any time on the floor.
Straight losses by the Raptors in Detroit, snapped by tonight's win
Assists-to-field goal ratio by the Raptors tonight
Points scored by the Pistons in the entire 2nd half
Field goal percentage by the Detroit Pistons allowed by the Raptors (season-best)
Points per game average by Raptor's opponents in their last 3 games
"I'll find the guy for the open shot and that's teamwork. Just keep attacking, make the extra pass, find the open guy and expect them to make it. I have a lot of confidence in them and today, they made them all."- Hedo Turkoglu on his playmaking skills.
"People have to understand it's a very long season. Mistakes are going to happen. You can't write teams off because they're struggling at a certain point. We were put together and sometimes it takes longer to gel than others." - Chris Bosh, on his team's rollcoaster season .
"He knows how to make plays and we're doing a good job putting the ball in his hands a lot more as well. When he has the ball in his hands, he makes good decisions and whether it's for himself, or for roll guys or picks a guy apart in the corner. He's 6'10, he can see the whole floor." - Jay Triano on Hedo Turkoglu's 11 assists, a season high.
9.2 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.4 APG
Notes:Jarrett Jack was solid yet again tonight, scoring 14 points (4-7 FGM-A) while dishing out 7 assists. His numbers continue to rise as his minutes increase with Jose Calderon out with an injury.
16.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG
Notes:Andrea Bargnani shot the ball particularly well tonight, scoring 21 points (9-15 FGM-A) in only 33 minutes to go along with 4 rebounds. He is one of the top scoring centers in the NBA and is a leading candidate for the Most Improved Player.