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Nov 18, 2023 3:17 pm

Raptors aim to bounce back vs. struggling Pistons

The Toronto Raptors are out for a victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon in order to complete their four-game homestand with a split.

After winning the opener of the homestand by coming back from a 23-point deficit to defeat the Washington Wizards 111-107, the Raptors have lost two in a row.

Toronto was down by 16 points at halftime Friday and came back to take the lead in the fourth quarter before losing 108-105 to the Boston Celtics.

It was Toronto’s first game of the NBA in-season tournament.

Detroit has dropped all three of its tournament games after a 108-100 road loss Friday to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pistons have lost 10 straight overall.

The Raptors showed improvement Friday over their 128-112 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. They also had a 117-94 road loss at Boston on Nov. 11 before their much more competitive game against the Celtics on Friday.

“We won in the second half,” Toronto coach Darko Rajakovic said. “We did not do a great job, especially in that second quarter, allowing them 39 points. We’ve just got to put it together.

“We had moments playing really solid defense and really solid offense. You’re talking about one of, arguably, the best teams in the league right now and we were able to hold them down to 108 points. I thought our intentions and our focus was on a much higher level in the second half, especially the third quarter.”

Pascal Siakam and Dennis Schroder each scored 23 points for Toronto. Siakam helped ignite the third-quarter surge after sitting out the second quarter with three fouls he picked up in the first quarter.

“That was a tough, tough one,” Rajakovic said. “He picked up the two fouls early, we had a sub for him for him to get him out earlier in the first quarter so he could come back and play.

“With three fouls, it would be really, really hard. I was not willing to risk (having) him (get) a fourth foul. … He was huge in the second half for us. I wish he played eight, nine more minutes for us tonight.”

Gary Trent Jr. (foot) returned to the Toronto lineup and had 14 points. OG Anunoby (lacerated finger) missed his third consecutive game.

In the Pistons’ game at Cleveland, the Cavaliers used a 19-4 run to take a 35-26 first-quarter lead. The Pistons trailed by as many as 16 points in the game, committed 17 turnovers, and were 9 of 35 (25.7 percent) on 3-point attempts.

Cade Cunningham led Detroit with 20 points and had eight assists, five rebounds and four turnovers. Kevin Knox II, who replaced Marvin Bagley III in the starting lineup, had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Isaiah Stewart added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Rookie Ausar Thompson had nine points and 10 rebounds but committed five turnovers and played just 1:45 in the second half. Jaden Ivey scored 11 points but had six turnovers.
The turnovers, a problem all season for Detroit, were significant.

“When you’re on the road, you have to be able to take care of the ball,” Pistons coach Monty Williams said. “And that’s on me to create a better mindset. The turnovers in the first half put us in a hole.”

Detroit had a 51-39 advantage in rebounds.

“We know we’re right there,” Stewart said. “Our defense was solid all night, but we had that stretch of turnovers that lost us the game. If we just clean that up, we’ll be fine — and we all know that.”

–Field Level Media

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