The Raptors dominated the landscape for the first 39 of this game. Then they went extinct.
Detroit entered the fourth quarter down 82-66 and looking done for. The Pistons only showed up to play for nine minutes tonight, but dammit, they made those nine minutes count.
The lineup of Ish Smith, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, and Andre Drummond was working. And the Raptors didn’t have an answer. They outscored the Raptors 36-19 in the final period to sneak away with the win.
It looked like the Pistons comeback bid was done in the final minute and a half, when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his layup blocked, leading to a Kyle Lowry layup to put Toronto up by five. But a couple of possessions later, after a couple of empty Raptors possessions and Drummond splitting a pair of free throws, KCP had another chance to cut the lead and converted. Two points, 48 seconds remaining.
The Raptors milked the clock, ending with a Kyle Lowry miss. Then Ish Smith found KCP in the corner where he’s making 54 percent of his shots. He knocked it down with 14 seconds remaining to give the Pistons their first lead since midway through the second quarter.
Toronto went to DeRozan for their final shot, but Marcus Morris played some brilliant defense to seal the win. And just like that, the Pistons are now tied for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.
The bench was huge for Detroit once again. All four reserves were critical in the win. Tobias Harris led the team with 24 points on 9-13 shooting. Ish led the team’s offense during their key run down the stretch. Stanley Johnson and Aron Baynes were both efficient offensively and effective defensively.
It’s one of those road back to backs, and the Pistons head to Milwaukee tomorrow night. The Bucks have lost 12 of their last 15, so it’s a good chance to keep climbing in the rankings heading into the All Star break.
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