Game Rap: Raptors 109, Pistons 91

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

IT WAS OVER WHEN

DeMarre Carroll hit a three-pointer with 2:31 remaining to increase Toronto’s lead to 106-87. After shaking off a slow start, the Raptors took the lead and didn’t relinquish it in a solid performance on both ends of the floor as they picked up a 109-91 victory to start the season.

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS

DeMar DeRozan started off a new year the way he finished his last one: Getting his name in the Raptors record books. DeRozan dropped 40 points in his first game of the 2016-17 campaign, breaking the record previously set by Vince Carter for points in the first game of a season who scored 39 in 2003.

CAREER-NIGHT VALANCIUNAS

DeRozan wasn’t the only Raptors player to have a big season debut. Jonas Valanciunas scored a career-high 32 points in a dominant opening-night performance. It was the first time in NBA history that two teammates opened the season with a 40-point game and a 30-point game.

ROOKIE STARTS

With Jared Sullinger out recovering after foot surgery, rookie Pascal Siakam was given the nod to slide into the starting lineup. Siakam received the news just before game time, and despite feeling a few jitters to start, did a fine job in his first taste of NBA action. Siakam played 22 minutes and scored four points (2-for-2 field goals), to go with nine rebounds and a steal. Most importantly, he was extremely active and kept possessions alive for the team with his hustle and work around the glass.

RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Any doubt that DeMar DeRozan was ready for the regular season was wiped away on Wednesday night. Toronto’s All-Star dropped a 40-point performance on the Pistons, just two shy of his career-high. DeRozan played 35 minutes, shooting 17-for-27 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He added four rebounds an assist and a steal and the Raptors were a +21 when he was on the floor. DeRozan started the game hot, making four of his first five shots, but really got rolling in the third where he scored 21 of Toronto’s 28 points in the quarter.

UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Jonas Valanciunas scored a career-high 32 points in 35 minutes against Detroit. He came out ready to go against a physical Detroit front line and he won the battle, shooting 10-for-15 from the floor and a fantastic 12-for-14 from the line. Valanciunas added 11 rebounds and an assist as Toronto was a +22 with him on the floor.

THAT'S A RAP…

“It’s one thing to watch somebody on TV and see what he does every single night. Actually being there and seeing how effortless it was, it was amazing. It was just like poetry. He was just out there, getting to his spots, shooting over people. It was just like, ‘How does he do that? It was amazing. He’s an all-star and that’s the way he’s supposed to play. It was awesome. It felt great to be on the court with him.”
- Rookie Pascal Siakam on witnessing DeMar DeRozan’s 40-point explosion while being on the floor with him

BY THE #’S

48…Percent shooting for the Raptors, 42 percent shooting for the Pistons.

10…Points, eight assists, five rebounds, and a steal for Kyle Lowry in his first action of 2016-17.

51…Rebounds for Toronto, 40 for Detroit. The Raptors also held a 14-8 advantage on the offensive glass, thanks in part to Valanciunas who grabbed six offensive boards.

3…Just three made three-pointers for the Raptors on 18 attempts. The Pistons weren’t much better, making four of their 22 attempts.

THEY SAID IT…

“Give him the ball. He was playing unbelievable, lights out. Honestly when he was making some of the shots that he was making, I said to myself a few times, “Wow.' That was an impressive game by him. He put himself to a higher standard, he gotta average 40 now, so hopefully he can keep it up.”
- Kyle Lowry on what he’s thinking when DeMar DeRozan gets in a scoring zone

“There’s no way I could even think about that. It was just amazing. The way things have been happening for me has been crazy. I can’t explain it. My dad passing away and everything that happened, I’m just happy I was able to make this happen for my family. I was just out there on the court representing for my family and my dad and everything. It was really awesome, an awesome feeling.”
- Pascal Siakam on the emotions surrounding starting his first NBA game

“He did great. He’s going to be alright. He played extremely hard. Once he continues to gain that experience of being out there with guys, getting a feel on the defensive end, how we play offensively, he’s going to continue to grow.”
- DeMar DeRozan on rookie Pascal Siakam’s debut

“You know, there's 81 games to go. We should not get too excited. It's just the start. It's nice to have a good start and win the game but it's a long season ahead of us. So we have to keep the same focus and win some more. It's not just one game.”
- Jonas Valanciunas on being happy with the win but knowing there’s much more to be done

“I think the veterans, they have been awesome to me, especially Sullinger. He’s been really helpful to me, just talking to me, helping me through this transition. I feel really bad that he’s hurt right now. I know he’s going to come back stronger and everything. I’m just wishing him a speedy recovery.”
- Pascal Siakam on learning from his vets, especially Jared Sullinger, who he is replacing in the starting lineup as Sullinger recovers from surgery

UP NEXT:

The Cleveland Cavaliers head to Toronto for a rematch of the Eastern conference Finals on Friday night at the ACC at 7 P.M. ET.

Game Highlights: Pistons at Raptors - October 26, 2016

Watch highlights from Toronto's 109-91 home win over Detroit on opening night.

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Game Highlights: Pistons at Raptors - October 26, 2016

Watch highlights from Toronto's 109-91 home win over Detroit on opening night.
Oct 26, 2016  |  03:21

Raptors Post-Game: Dwane Casey - October 26, 2016

Head coach Dwane Casey addresses the media following Toronto's 109-91 home win over Detroit on opening night.
Oct 26, 2016  |  06:58

Raptors Post-Game: DeMar DeRozan - October 26, 2016

DeMar DeRozan addresses the media following Toronto's 109-91 home win over Detroit on opening night.
Oct 26, 2016  |  04:17

Raptors Post-Game: DeMarre Carroll - October 26, 2016

DeMarre Carroll addresses the media following Toronto's 109-91 home win over Detroit on opening night.
Oct 26, 2016  |  02:06

Raptors Post-Game: Pascal Siakam - October 26, 2016

Pascal Siakam addresses the media following Toronto's 109-91 home win over Detroit on opening night.
Oct 26, 2016  |  04:07
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