(Toronto, On) The Toronto Raptors get back in the winning column, ending their two-game losing streak, beating the Detroit Pistons 118-97 at Scotiabank Arena.
The Raptors are now 36-38 on the season and a solid 24-14 at home. Toronto is officially half a game back of the Atlanta Hawks.
With eight games remaining in the season, the Raptors looked to set the tone early on and be aggressive out the gate. After a disappointing first quarter against the Pacers, the Raptors were looking for redemption, and they did just that Friday night. The starting lineup came out and hit their first four of six shots from three-point range. The Raptors took advantage of the young Pistons lineup and went on a massive 28-12 run, taking a 38-26 lead after 1. Toronto fed off second chance points as Detroit turned the ball over five times in the quarter, leading to nine points.
The Raptors strong play continued in the second quarter as Pascal Siakam set the tone. He dropped 17 points in the first quarter and he had 26 points by halftime. OG Anunoby feasted, taking advantage of the Isaiah Livers matchup and found his shooting touch, burying three-of-four from three-point range. After an impressive first half, the Raptors led 72-52 at the break.
Unfortunately, Toronto got off to a poor start in the third quarter, missing six-of-seven from the field, settling primarily for outside shots. The Pistons bench scored 31 points and were led by R.J Hampton, 19-year-old Jalen Duren, and Toronto native Eugene Omoruyi. Even though Toronto had a low scoring quarter of 20 points, the Pistons weren’t much better as they failed to cut the deficit to single digits. The narrative continued down the stretch and the Raptors took a commanding 29 point lead heading into the fourth quarter. As the Raptors starters checked out, the bench had their shining moment as Chris Boucher, Jeff Dowtin Jr., Christian Koloko, and Malachi Flynn played efficient defense down the stretch, combining for six steals and seven blocks. The Raps looked comfortable from the first quarter and got their 36th win on the season.
It was an all-around game for Siakam as he dropped 32 points, nine assists, and five rebounds, on 12/19 shooting. Boucher was electric off the bench, scoring 19 points, 13 rebounds, to go with two blocks. Fred VanVleet poured in 18 points, four assists, and three triples. Anunoby got back on track with 17 points on 7/11 shooting.
The Pistons were led by ROY candidate Jaden Ivey who had 20 points, eight assists but unfortunately turned the ball over nine times. Marvin Bagley had a solid outing, scoring 14 points, and pulling down nine rebounds. James Wiseman also had a productive 14 points, and four rebounds. and Hampton scored 13 points.
Although the Pistons are headed for another NBA Draft Lottery appearance, they are building a long-term roster. Unfortunately, Detroit hasn’t been at full strength all year as Cade Cunningham was ruled out for the season due to a left shin injury. Although going through several years of rebuilding, the Pistons are finally showing flashes of potential. As Ivey, Duren, and Bagley continue to develop, the Pistons will become a threat in the Eastern Conference for years to come.
The Raptors have eight games left to make a final push for a playoff/play-in spot. As the season comes to a conclusion, they look towards the return of Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent, and Precious Achiuwa to bolster their playoff aspirations.
The Raptors look to capitalize on their home court advantage when the Washington Wizards come to town this Sunday at Scotiabank Arena. Game time
Toronto Raptors vs. Detroit Pistons boxscore click HERE.
Pascal Siakam: 32 PTS 5 REB 9 AST
Chris Boucher: 19 PTS 13 REB 2 BLK
Fred VanVleet: 18 PTS 3 REB 4 AST
Jaden Ivey: 20 PTS 8 AST 9 TO
Marvin Bagley: 14 PTS 9 REB 4/4 FT
James Wiseman: 14 PTS 4 REB 1 AST