-To say the Toronto Raptors were shorthanded tonight against the Detroit Pistons would be an understatement. With no Sonny Weems (back) and no Jerryd Bayless (flu) and a wonky Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson (didn't play after half), Linas Kleiza...and pretty much everyone else in a Dino jersey, the Raps got blitzed by the boys from Motown. But the short-handedness extended beyond physical injuries to the play of the remaining team, which allowed a Pistons club that was averaging about 88 points over their last stretch, to dump 115 on the Dinos in a 115 to 93 loss.
-Yep, this was ugly. Toronto actually shot 52% from the field, played Detroit basically to a draw on the glass, got to the free-throw line more often...and still got pounded. Why? Well giving up 39 points to the Pistons thanks to an egregious 24 turnovers would be a starting point. Even Jose Calderon fell into the trap, turning it over 8 times despite his 13 assists on the night. Post-game Jay Triano blamed this on various Raptors trying to do too much in terms of one-on-one, but if you saw even half of this match, you know that many of said turnovers were unforced. As well, the Raptors just don't have the one-on-one players to make things happen off the bounce, and balls going off feet, passes to no one in particular, and pockets being picked were par for the course all night.
-Other issues? Getting stops, particularly from the wing position. DeMar DeRozan went MIA after the first few minutes of the game offensively and got torched by Richard Hamilton at the other. Hamilton might have had a bit of motivation based on the recent "he quit on his team" allegations but nevertheless, he was RIP from 2001 tonight dropping 35 on the Raptors. As well, the Raptors as they've done all season, managed to make a non-factor in the league (think Hilton Armstrong earlier this year) look like a stud as Tracy McGrady reverted to Raptors' form, much to the
delight of the ACC faithful. He finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
-Toronto was led scoring-wise by Leandro Barbosa's 21 points off the bench, while Linas Kleiza chipped in 19 and Andrea Bargnani had 16. However you have to question Jay Triano's rotation decisions a bit considering that Leandro was the team's hottest player, and yet only played 25 minutes. DeMar DeRozan played nearly 34. In a game dominated by smaller, faster players like Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey, who had 21 points, it would have been good to see Triano at least attempt to go small. The Pistons have nothing in terms of interior scoring so it's at least plausible that the switch would have gotten Detroit out of its offensive scheme.
-In any event, this is one of those games the Raps are just going to have to try and forget as there wasn't anything remotely positive about the outcome. And with 11 of the Raptors next 15 on the road (this was Toronto's last home game of 2010), things suddenly look pretty bleak for the Dinos. One has to hope that these next few days provide a much-needed break for their walking wounded and the club comes back with some zest against Memphis next Monday night.