TORONTO – Dwane Casey’s Detroit Pistons finished last in the Eastern Conference in Toronto with only two wins to show for the season so far, and having beaten by 20 points from Cleveland the previous night.
But it looks like Casey and the Pistons are saving their best games for the Raptors.
Jerami Grant scored 24 points, including two key three-pointers in the fourth quarter, and Detroit beat Toronto 127-121 on Saturday, delivering the Raptors (7-7) their fourth defeat in five games.
“Obviously they play very hard. We expected them to, “said Detroit Raptors manager Nick Nurse.” (Casey) certainly has them always ready to play when they come here, that’s for sure. We knew we were going to play a tough game tonight and they played. very very good”.
Isaiah Stewart added 20 for the Pistons (3-9), who have beaten Toronto in their last four fights. Casey is 7-3 against his old team.
“We hope this gives our boys confidence and trust,” said Casey. “We shot it with conviction, as if we felt and believed it was going well. As bad as it was last night, tonight was a beautiful thing.”
Pascal Siakam has scored 25 points and 12 rebounds in his fourth game since missing the start of the season to recover from shoulder surgery. Gary Trent Jr. had 23 points while OG Anunoby had 17. Goran Dragic added 16, Dalano Banton finished with 12 and Scottie Barnes 11.
Neither team was led in double figures in the first three quarters of the home and away match. A frantic third quarter finale saw Banton steal the ball from fellow Canadian Cory Joseph twice in a row, ending with a massive dunk on one of them that took the 19,800-strong crowd out of their seats.
The Raptors, wearing their black and gold city edition jerseys, took a 95-93 lead in the quarter.
But the Raptors vanished in the fourth quarter, when Detroit hit five straight three-pointers – two by Grant – that got the Pistons up 117-106. The Raptors scored five consecutive points to shoot under six. Siakam converted a three-point game with 2:04 to play to cut the difference to just three.
Cade Cunningham, no. 1 draft pick, went to the basket to make the five-point game direct at the last minute. The Raptors missed four shots on their next possession, which nearly ensured the loss as fans made their way to the exit.
The nurse said her team needs more consistency, particularly on the defensive side.
“I think you can never accept inconsistent play, especially when you take a few steps forward or respond to a bad one,” Nurse said. “I’m not going to attribute this to anything other than the boys, they need to learn what it’s like to play in a tough professional league and atmosphere and they really strive to be consistent in their efforts.”
He added that it’s baffling that Toronto’s defense has been better on the road this season.
“We should have more energy and juice feeding on our home crowd and fly a little bit more,” Nurse said. “But we didn’t seem stuck, I guess I’d say a professional or professional attitude at home for some reason.”
The story was made at the end of the first quarter when five Canadians were on the floor at the same time: Raptors Banton, Khem Birch and Chris Boucher, and Joseph and Trey Lyles of Detroit. Kelly Olynyk could have made six, but the piston striker and national team veteran has been out for at least six weeks with a knee injury.
The Raptors were missing starting guard Fred VanVleet, who was stopped due to a strained groin that coach Nick Nurse said “bothered him for a while.” Dragic, rarely used, started in his place. Precious Achiuwa also missed the game with a sore shoulder.
“Obviously we need Fred, but I think there’s no excuse,” Siakam said. “I think we’ve always been a team that’s kind of like the next man. We have to go out there and perform. But I feel we have to keep learning, we have to approach every game with the same approach. And I think it comes with experience. .
“I thought we made a lot of small mistakes today that cost us the game, but again, it’s something we have to keep growing and learn from and I think we will improve.”
Casey, meanwhile, has a young piston squad this season, which presents some unique challenges.
“It’s fun,” said Casey, who has coached the Raptors for seven seasons. He was fired after the 2017-18 season, the same season he was named NBA Coach of the Year. “For me it is exciting just for the fact that it is pure coaching. Sometimes you want to pull your hair out because some nights the kids do comedies and the next night they don’t recognize or recognize each other at basketball. But it’s exciting “.
The Pistons scored their first five shots of the night to take an eight-point lead. Trent Jr. had 13 points in the first quarter and his pull-up jumper with 4:51 left in the period closed a 19-5 run by the Raptors that propelled them nine. The Raptors took a 34-31 lead in the second.
Neither team were more than six points ahead in a fluctuating second quarter, and Lyles scored a sharp dunk with 12 seconds left and the Pistons took a 65-64 lead in the halftime break.
The Raptors were coming off a 115-109 win in Philadelphia on Thursday that ended a three-game losing streak.
Banton was playing his fourth game in four nights, after playing for the Raptors 905 in Mississauga, Ontario on Friday.
“He played great,” Nurse said of her G League game. “I think we always had him in our plans to play a little bit with the 905. He carved out a role in this team perhaps faster than anyone expected. It was a bit of a tricky situation, playing four out of four. He wanted to play. There were some things he wanted to work on. For the big picture, it’s a good move for him and his team. “
The Raptors are now heading west for a six-game journey that begins Monday in Portland. They will visit Utah, Sacramento, Golden State, Memphis and Indiana before returning home to host Boston on November 28th.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 13, 2021.
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