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Slow Start Proves Costly For Raptors Against Pistons

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Video: Game Highlights | Triano | Bayless | Calderon | Johnson | DeRozan | Bargnani
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January 14, 2011

TORONTO (CP) -- Toronto head coach Jay Triano had no defence for how his Raptors played in the first half on Friday.

Tracy McGrady scored 22 points and added five assists as the Detroit Pistons took advantage of a listless-looking Raptors team in a 101-95 victory.

``Guys should be embarrassed when a team runs a play six times in a row right at you,'' said Triano. ``They took turns posting guys up, they went 1-on-1. It's not a scheme. It's nothing, it's just man-on-man. And they exploited mismatches.''

The Raptors were slightly better in the second half despite losing Leandro Barbosa to a hamstring injury. Barbosa, known as a sparkplug off the bench, was helped off the court with 3.2 seconds left in the first half. He was to undergo further tests before the extent of the injury could be determined.

Amir Johnson started after being a game-time decision because he had a MRI on his back on Friday, but Sonny Weems did not play again because of back spasms.

Andrea Bargnani led the game with 31 points on 12-for-25 shooting as the Raptors ended a string of four successive games with a shooting percentage of 50 per cent or better. DeMar DeRozan added 15, Linas Kleiza 13 and Jose Calderon 11 for Toronto (13-26).

Rodney Stuckey added 19 points, Charlie Villanueva provided 16 more from the bench and Greg Monroe chipped in 12 for the Pistons (13-26).

The Pistons bench outscored Toronto's 35-18.

``Our bench did a great job,'' Pistons head coach John Kuester said.

``I think when you look at the bench lineup that tells a lot,`` Triano said. ``When Leandro gets hurt and goes out, that's the majority of our scoring of bench points right there. Obviously, we missed that.

``Some guys struggled offensively tonight. DeMar is usually a little bit better and defensively we need to be a bit better as well.''

The Pistons led 61-54 at the half and were up 83-74 after three quarters.

``They got at us first before we showed any type of fight,'' DeRozan said. ``We need to come out at the beginning of the game and jump out at teams first.''

``We didn't play any defence in the first and second quarters,`` added Johnson. ``We played it better in the third and fourth but it was too late to come back. We seem to play harder against the better teams and clack on the teams that are not as good. We need to work on that.''

McGrady, a former Raptor, heard the usual boos from the Air Canada Centre crowd.

``I am focused every game,'' McGrady said. ``But when you have an arena that boos you I think that you put a little more focus into it.''

After trailing most of the game, Bargnani hit two in a row to pull the Raptors to within five points with 1:18 to play.

But Toronto couldn't take advantage of a McGrady miss with 33.9 left, and when Stuckey made a free throw with 18.7 seconds remaining, Detroit led by six. Bargnani missed a layup attempt and the Pistons had the game back under control.

The Raptors started the fourth quarter trailing by nine points, but fell behind by 11 when Ben Gordon made a three-pointer with 5:35 remaining.

Calderon and Bargnani both missed shots on the Raptors next possession and Gordon put the Pistons ahead by 13. The Raptors pulled back, but it was not enough.

Notes: Weems, who dressed for Wednesday's loss to Atlanta but did not play, was not in uniform for Friday's game and has missed 13 consecutive games with his back problem. ...Rookie centre Solomon Alabi was recalled Friday from the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. Alabi was reassigned to the BayHawks Jan. 6. ...Toronto embarks on a season-long five-game trip starting Saturday at Washington. ...Attendance at Air Canada Centre was 16,924.