Before tonight, the Pistons had not given up more than 41 total points in the first half. 41, 38, 38, and 41 to be respectively exact. Well, Detroit gave up 44 points in the 2nd quarter alone on Wednesday night and if you tell me there's another reason why they lost this game, I'll slap you in your internet avatar face. I'm sorry, but you can't give up 44 points in a single quarter and expect to win many, if any, games.
The Raptors had 68 points at the half on 55% shooting. Luckily, the Pistons were shooting 51% and had 56 points to keep it relatively close heading into the locker room.
You have to give credit to the Raptors, though. They can score and they have proved that in their first four games. They entered the game averaging a fourth best, 108 points per game behind Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. They followed that pattern again here tonight, combining for 47 points and 20 rebounds to outdo the Pistons starting front court by 25 points.
Detroit's defense buckled down, as much as they could, in the second half by allowing just 42 points (less than the Raptors scored in the 2nd quarter! -- added for emphasis). Toronto's second half FG% dropped by 12% and Detroit even managed to take a one point lead midway through the fourth. But Toronto hit the open looks (and there were a lot of them) when they needed to down the stretch and walked away with the 11 point victory when it was all said and done.
It was the first time a team has scored over 100 points against the Pistons this season. Detroit entered the game 2nd in the league in points against, second only to Boston, at 85.3.
Notes and thoughts after the jump.
- Ben Gordon led the Pistons in scoring with his season high 30 points on 10-19 shooting. My second biggest problem with this game aside from the unacceptable 44 points in the second quarter was Gordon not touching the ball enough in the 4th quarter. He had just two shots in the fourth before taking two in the final minute when the game was already lost. He entered the quarter with 27 points, en fuego on the night, and he only gets two shots before the final garbage minute!? I like Stuckey and Bynum, but feed the hot hand. That's why we pay Gordon the big bucks.
- Detroit's defense as a whole isn't so much the problem as it is the perimeter defense. It's atrocious. Two out of three times down the floor, it seems like, the opposing team gets an uncontested three point try. Raptors shot 24 threes tonight and I wouldn't argue much with anyone if they told me all of them were wide open attempts. Luckily, they only made eight of them.
- I thought Detroit's depth was going to be a strength of this team, but it has been a weakness so far (and a lot of that has to do with the fact Hamilton is out and Gordon is starting). The Raptors bench outscored Detroit's 35-25, although Detroit outscored Toronto's in the 2nd half 18-8.
- Jonas Jerebko made his second straight start in place of the injured Prince, who did not travel with the team apparently. I really like his intensity (five fouls and two blocks) and it didn't hurt that he was perfect from the field (eight points).
- Jason Maxiell played just under ten minutes tonight, so maybe that's a sign that a trade involving him is not in the brewing. He had two monster tip dunks that would make even the Lakers do this. See one for yourself:
- Charlie Villanueva was much better offensively tonight, going 7-13 from the floor with 16 points. He was aggressive and put in some tough shots. He pulled down seven rebounds, but his defense is suspect (but you knew that).
- Speaking of CV31, RaptorsHQ asked me on Twitter who I would rather have on the Pistons -- Charlie or Bargnani?... Bargnani is the easy choice based on 2009-2010 performances or was it easy before this season?
- Kwame Brown was a big, fat zero tonight.
- Ben Wallace was Ben Wallace -- our best defender, nine rebounds, and a gnarly tip dunk.
- Pistons head to Orlando for a rematch with the Magic on Friday night. Hopefully, Detroit's fortune against the Magic continues. Tip off is slated for 7:00 PM EST.
- If you missed the game, here are the 1st half highlights (I'll post full game highlights when they're available):