It was Detroit's sixth straight defeat and entirely predictable. The Pistons were, as usual, leading at the half, 54-50. The team was led by rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who had 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting and Greg Monroe, who had 14 points and nine rebounds. Brandon Jennings had eight assists and only two turnovers. Andre Drummond was rebounding. Josh Smith launched only four shots and made three of them.
And then the second half happened. Monroe only took three more shots the rest of the way, KCP just one. All four shots were missed. Smith and Jennings, meanwhile, hoisted 17 attempts and made just five. Jennings also had just one assist in the second half. Smith and Drummond combined to shoot 1-of-8 from the charity stripe.
The Raptors, meanwhile, were led, as usual, by a pair of big men who abused Detroit's porous defense. Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas combined for 20 points and 12 rebounds in the second half after being non-factors in the first half.
DeMar DeRozan shot 0-of-9 in the first half but instead of Detroit forcing him to rely on his shaky jumper, the Pistons allowed him to drive through the lane at will and his 11 second-half free-throws were more than Detroit attempted as a team (eight).
The Pistons shot 14-of-43 in the second half. And that's how you lose a game by 21 points.
Detroit is now, for the first time in forever, out of the playoffs in the woeful East, and with Brooklyn and New York playing slightly better and Cleveland trading for Luol Deng, the Pistons' playoff hopes are looking bleaker by the day.
Incidentally, the Pistons have the 10th-worst record in the NBA.
Also, this (H/T to Trout Jefferson in comments):
When Josh Smith is on the floor in the 4th quarter, the Pistons are outscored by 26.4 points per 100 possessions. I. Can't. Even.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) January 9, 2014