The Detroit Pistons took advantage of the Toronto Raptors’ bad juju and handed them their fifth straight loss against coach Dwane Casey, 103-87. The Raptors had a poor shooting night, converting only 32.7% from the field. Defensively, the Raptors only had a couple of good defensive stretches during the game, and one of them led to a late 14-2 run that cut the Pistons’ lead to 91-83. But that run was immediately stomped by whatever Casey’s spell has on the Raptors.
To the Pistons’ credit, they made life miserable for Fred VanVleet, who was held to 3-for-15 shooting through three quarters. But you can’t keep an All Star down, so VanVleet expectedly came up big in the fourth, finishing the game with 24 points and 10 assists. Pascal Siakam contributed 23 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists — despite finding open teammates throughout the game.
OG Anunoby made his first three perimeter shots but was uncharacteristically erratic and a possession killer for the rest of the game. Siakam, VanVleet, and Scottie Barnes set the tone early by combining for 3-for-16 in the first period, so naturally, the bench had nothing to show, going for 5-for-21 for 16 points.
Speaking of benches , Trey Lyles came off the bench for the Pistons and led all scorers with 21 points. Cade Cunningham had an all-around game, putting up 18 points, seven rebounds, and five assists — including the dagger three-pointer late in the game. Hamidou Diallo dunked on the Raptors repeatedly on his way to 18 points. The Pistons’ bench outplayed the Raptors’ bench so far that even if you take out Lyles’ production, the Pistons’ bench still outscored the Raptors’ bench, 25-16.
Dwane Casey’s against the Raptors vs. the rest of the league pic.twitter.com/TyCvXTl9xH— Libaan Osman (@libaanstar1) January 15, 2022
The Raptors looked lethargic to start the game, and a loose defense allowed the Pistons to take an early 13-7 lead, shooting 6-for-7 from the field. Khem Birch left the game with a nose injury and was ruled out to return. OG Anunoby got the Raptors close with back-to-back three-pointers, but the Raptors’ sloppy offense led to consecutive Hamidou Diallo dunks, with Scottie Barnes’ tip stopping a Pistons 8-0 run. Josh Jackson’s three-pointer pushed their lead to 26-15, but Fred VanVleet led the Raptors on an 8-0 run the keep the Raptors close, and a Pascal Siakam layup to end the quarter had them trailing 31-27.
The Raptors continued their stout defense to start the second quarter, allowing only two Pistons field goals in five minutes. The problem? The Raptors only had three points to show, going 1-for-6 shooting, including 0-for-4 behind the arc. Isaiah Stewart picked up his third foul early, but the Pistons got some push from their bench, with Trey Lyles looking like an all-star, including whistles, dropping nine points in the quarter.
Meanwhile, Nick Nurse went as far as utilizing his eleventh man off the bench, trying to look for a spark. The Raptors only had three turnovers in the quarter, but it felt like they were giving the Pistons transition points every down. A cutting Diallo gave the Pistons their (then)largest lead at 54-38. A late push by VanVleet and Siakam got them to 56-43 at the half.
Perhaps the worst thing for the Raptors was Stewart picking up his 4th foul to start the quarter, as the Raptors had no answer for Lyles. Siakam finally got the Raptors their first transition bucket. With the rest of the team struggling, Siakam tried to put the team on his back, and with Chris Boucher’s three-pointer, cut the Pistons lead to 69-60. Unfortunately, Siakam had to get a breather, and the Pistons took advantage, closing the quarter with a 14-6 run, pushing the lead to 83-66 after three quarters.
The Pistons looked like they were about to blow this game wide open to start the fourth quarter. Josh Jackson and Cory Joseph hit back-to-back three-pointers, pushing their lead to 21, and Siakam picked up his fifth foul early in the quarter.
VanVleet spurred a 14-2 run that cut the Pistons lead to 91-83. However, Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes would combine for five straight points to take the air out of the Raptors’ comeback attempt. OG Anunoby’s 5th turnover of the game formally sealed the Raptors’ fate with less than two minutes to go.
Up Next: The Raptors head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks for their second-game of a back-to-back.