The Detroit Pistons playoff chances are a rounding error. They’ve cemented their status as perhaps the most disappointing team in the NBA this season. All they have to play for is pride and sending the Palace of Auburn Hills out in style.
For three and a half quarters they did just that, but then Detroit reverted to an all-to-familiar, defense-less style and Toronto remembered they are one of the best teams in the NBA. In the end, the Pistons surrendered a 12-point lead with just more than six minutes to play and lost 105-102.
Kyle Lowry, in his first game back after an 18-game absence with a wrist injury, powered Toronto to victory. The All-Star point guard showed no sign of rust with 27 points and 10 assists.
But it was in the last 6:24 that Toronto put the game away. In that span, the Raptors outscored Detroit 24-11 and shot 83.3 percent from the field. Lowry led the way with seven points but DeMar DeRozan chipped in six, Jonas Valancunias had five and PJ Tucker and Serge Ibaka each added a 3-pointer for good measure.
The Pistons, meanwhile, had no answers on offense and no clue on defense. It was the second-to-last game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and it looks like the storied building is going to go out with a whimper.
The only positive is that it keeps Detroit in the No. 11 spot in the NBA draft. The Charlotte Hornets are nipping at their heels only a half game back. There is a small chance Detroit can move up (down?)to No. 10 if the New Orleans Pelicans can string together some victories.
Speaking of the Hornets, did you know they have a positive point differential (+0.7) despite being 36-43? Also, Detroit has the same differential (-1.3) as the No. 6 team in the Eastern Conference Atlanta Hawks. In the past 10 games both the Hawks and Pistons share the honor of the worst records in the NBA.
The season is almost over.