Game Rap: Raptors 87, Pistons 75
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
The Raptors used a 24-3 run to close the game. Toronto went into the fourth trailing by six. With 9:31 remaining, Detroit led 63-72. From there, the Raptors reeled off a 24-3 run to pick up an 87-75 victory against the Pistons on the road.
UGLY, BUT IN FRONT
After a disappointing blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on their home floor on Thursday night, the Raptors were eager for an opportunity to forget past mistakes. Although the first half on Friday was anything but pretty, the effort that was missing in Thursday’s loss was present, and the Raptors led by two at the halftime break. With both teams shooting 34 percent on an identical 14-of-41 field goals, Toronto’s lead came beyond the arc, where, ironically, they struggled so much 24 hours before. The Raptors were 4-of-13 from deep in the first half while Detroit, made just one of seven attempts. Toronto also led despite a rare scoreless first half from DeMar DeRozan as DeMarre Carroll led the team with 10 points and Jonas Valanciunas added eight points and seven rebounds. Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 11 points while Jon Leuer added 10 points off the bench.
The third quarter was a bit of a roller coaster for the Raptors. After coming out of the halftime to extend their lead to seven midway through the quarter on a DeMar DeRozan pull-up jumper, the Raptors offence went cold to close the quarter. The Pistons found their stroke in the meantime and closed the quarter strong, turning a seven-point deficit into a six-point lead heading into the fourth. After going scoreless in the first half, DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with eight points in the third quarter, while Serge Ibaka added six points as the Raptors shot 42 percent. Thanks to the late push to close the quarter, the Pistons shot 54 percent in the quarter, where Reggie Jackson had nine points.
LOCK DOWN FOURTH
The Raptors trailed by six to open the fourth. With 9:31 remaining, a Tobias Harris layup would put the Pistons up nine, 72-63. From there, the Raptors dialled up the defensive intensity. With P.J. Tucker challenging his teammates to channel their energy into their defensive effort, the Raptors held the Pistons to nine points in the fourth quarter and just three in the final 9:31 of the game as they used a 24-3 run to take complete control and earn a hard fought 87-75 victory. The Pistons shot just 15 percent in the fourth, missing all six attempts from beyond the arc, and shooting 3-of-20 overall from the floor. In comparison, Toronto made 8-of-18 field goals (44 percent), including 3-of-7 shots from deep (43 percent). Tucker was instrumental on the defensive end of the floor, but he also led the Raptors offensively, scoring eight points in the quarter, as Norman Powell and DeMar DeRozan each added six points. It was a much needed and encouraging fourth quarter for a team that flew to Detroit on Thursday night searching for answers after a blowout loss on their home floor. Now, the team must return to Toronto and replicate that same defensive energy on Sunday.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Although DeMar DeRozan was scoreless in the first half and finished with 14 points, far below his 27.1 point-per-game average, he had one of his strongest all-around games of the season. He finished with a line of 14 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, but it was his energy on the defensive end of the floor, especially in the fourth quarter, that helped Toronto turn the game around and get a victory.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
THAT'S A RAP…
“Now it’s about doing it Sunday. Then after that, and after that. Keep building.”
- DeMar DeRozan on a much needed win and what has to happen next
BY THE #’S
39…Percent shooting for the Raptors on a night where both teams struggled to score. The Pistons shot just 35 percent for the game.
53…Rebounds for the Raptors, 49 for the Pistons. Andre Drummond had 22 rebounds for the Pistons before fouling out of the game.
5…Players in double figures for Toronto. Serge Ibaka led all scorers with 17 points, DeMar DeRozan added 14, DeMarre Carroll 12, Norman Powell 11 and Jonas Valanciunas 10.
15…Percent shooting from deep for Detroit, 33 percent for Toronto. The Pistons made 3-of-20 attempts from three while the Raptors connected on 9-of-27 attempts.
9…Just nine fourth quarter points for the Pistons who were outscored 27-9 in the final quarter by the Raptors, including a 24-3 run to close the game.
THEY SAID IT…
“There was a collective will to win. Last night we lost our spirit when [Oklahoma City] hit us and tonight we didn’t. Detroit tried to punch us and we withstood it.”
- Dwane Casey on the difference in Friday’s victory
“When you don't get communication, everybody is worried about their man. Defence isn’t about your man, it’s about helping the situation out. It’s about being there, helping your teammate out, your other teammate helping you out. Everybody being on a string and that communication is what brings it all together.”
- P.J. Tucker on why communication is necessary on defence
“Me being a leader, I’ve got to go out and set the tone. It’s easier for everybody else to follow after that. It was a big game for us on the road and it was on me to be aggressive. Not even offensively, just doing everything else.”
- DeMar DeRozan on a big defensive effort
The Raptors return to Toronto to prepare to take on the Indiana Pacers at 6 P.M. ET.