All is well in Raptorland as Toronto halted their losing streak at two games and cruised to a 112-91 victory over the sinking Detroit Pistons Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto (17-17) returns to the promised .500 land and sit comfortably atop the Atlantic Division, leading the Brooklyn Nets by four games. This contest was close after two quarters but overall the surging Raptors were the better team throughout. It was a well deserved win for the home squad and they are now 7-3 in their past 10 games.
When the fans get their pizza the offense must be doing a pretty good job! The Raptors had little difficulty scoring against Detroit’s atrocious defense (ranked 23rd in the league) and looked pretty comfortable on offense in the first half – scoring 50 points on 33.3 % shooting. That trend continued in the second half as they scored 34 points in the third quarter and 28 in the fourth. Toronto lit the lamp from downtown (11-31) and were efficient distributing the rock, finishing with 25 assists.
The NBA’s fifth ranked defense laid an egg in the first two quarters as the Pistons amassed 54 points by halftime. The frontcourt trio of Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith was overbearing at times and torched Toronto inside, outscoring them in the paint 46-32. Fortunately, Toronto’s defense tightened up in the second half and limited Detroit to 37 points.
The Raptors were tenacious on the glass and outrebounded their opponents 55-47. Jonas Valanciunas finished with a double double (16 points, 11 rebounds) while Amir Johnson had another impressive game (10 points, 11 rebounds). Drummond, one of the NBA’s most dominant rebounders, casually grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds – no surprise there.
Game Ball: Kyle Lowry
The “Little Engine” is arguably playing the best basketball of his young career. He posted another impressive stat line scoring 21 points, dishing out 9 assists, grabbing 5 boards and was perfect from the charity stripe 9-9. Lowry is becoming a true leader and is a significant piece in team’s revival. Talks of his contract extension will be an interesting narrative going forward.
Other things of note:
Detroit is an eyesore to watch – comparable to the Raptors in the Rudy Gay era
Patrick Patterson is an excellent distributor
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope…what a name!
Detroit has a lot of talent but realistically they are a terribly constructed team