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Pistons vs. Raptors final score: Pistons come to play but fall 121-119 in overtime

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It wasn’t always an enjoyable game, but the second half turned into an entertaining battle.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons and Raptors really got after it in the second half Wednesday night, and ultimately the Raptors, even having played the night before, escaped with a two-point win in overtime.

The win guarantees the Raptors (47-17) a playoff berth and the loss for the Pistons (29-36) likely guarantees another rough night of sleep for Stan Van Gundy. Who knows what Tom Gores is even doing.

DeMar DeRozan was splendid much of the contest, scoring 42 points on 28 shots. Kyle Lowry scored most of his 15 points in the second half, dished out 15 assists along with grabbing seven rebounds and four steals.

Blake Griffin and Reggie Bullock were efficient, combining for 52 points on 6-of-12 shooting from three.

The Pistons are back at it against the tankalicious Chicago Bulls on Friday at Little Caesars Arena.

Below you can find my real-time thoughts on the game - starting with the second quarter.

Second quarter

I’m watching the Raptors broadcast for the moment.

The Raptors lead the Pistons 27-23.

Raptors announcers are praising Detroit’s energy and smart defense here early in the quarter. It’s realistically more of the normally strong Raptors bench not quite hitting on all cylinders. But we’ll take the praise, Raptors announcers. Bless you.

Eric Moreland and James Ennis making good stuff happen on both sides of the ball.

32-29 Pistons. Griffin back in for Tolliver, who has hit 2 threes in the game.

Raptors certainly look like a team that played the night earlier. Turnover city (careless ones) on at least three very recent possessions. However, the Raptors starters didn’t play big minutes last night, they should be fresher than they are as no starter played more than 28 minutes.

Fun fact: Nigel Hayes was just signed by the Raptors to a 10-day contract. For Big Ten hoops fans, Hayes is surely a name you’ll recognize.

Ish drains a jumper and now Detroit is up 42-31.

Detroit’s first possession out of a timeout sees Kennard get drilled on a made three-pointer (missed the free throw)... it’s his first scratch in the scoring column tonight.

Detroit is on a 19-2 run and up 14. Maybe the Raps are thinking too much about their Friday date with the Rockets? Raptors seem disinterested and are a step slow.

What just happened …? Serge Ibaka just picked up two techs (simultaneously?) and is walking off the court. Most Detroit fans in attendance still think Ibaka is on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Raptors fans in attendance are pretty confused and irate. Not only did Ibaka have his hands full with Griffin, he wasn’t shooting great either at 2-of-8.

Here’s an opinion:

Pistons go into halftime up 59-45. Griffin has scored 14 on just 8 shots on aggressive and mostly wise play.

Switched over to the ESPN broadcast.

In the second half expect the Raptors to pick up their defense, contest more shots and to take over this game.

Third quarter

Raptors hit their first three shots of the quarter. Griffin fouls Lowry shooting (and making) a three pointer.

Pascal Siakam, a second year 6’9 forward, nails a trey and Toronto is right back into the thick of things, down just 6 with a quick 10 to 2 run out of the half. Siakam coming into the game was 20-of-111 (18%) from downtown. Perhaps Detroit can bait him into taking a few more tonight.

Griffin continues to use his tools and grown-man strength inside to score in a variety of ways.

Kennard fouls Lowry shooting (and making) a three pointer.

Can Andre learn from Jonas Valanciunas on how to shoot a hook shot? Valanciunas knows what’s up.

Lowry continues to be more effective here in the second half after a quiet first half scoring wise. He’s getting past the defense anytime he wants.

Raps claw to within one with four minutes left in the third. Siakam has been helpful, scoring 6 so far in the quarter.

Dwight Buycks enters the game and hits a jumper immediately, but then Lowry drives right past him for an and-one.

Raptors up five now and the Pistons not playing anything resembling even high school caliber defense. And I would know, as I was generally a pretty poor defender as a high school player. While I’m sure most of the guys are trying – news flash... they just aren’t any good and the coaching staff isn’t too stellar either.

Pistons down one going into the fourth quarter. DeMar DeRozan is fairly quietly pounding the Pistons with 24 points on 17 shots. Norman Powell is also having a solid game with 15. In Powell’s last four games coming in ( 39 minutes total) he scored 5 points combined.

Can’t wait for March Madness to really get going. No, I mean the NCAA basketball tournament, not the escalating dumpster fire in the White House so far this month.

4th quarter

Rookie wing Malcolm Miller is in the game… he’s a cousin of Reggie Miller. I read that tidbit online from a respected source – let’s hope it’s indeed factual.

Detroit hanging tough, down just three with 6:38 left in the game.

Griffin makes a quick move and goes right over his right shoulder.... and also over Valanciunas for the score. Griffin in the post is usually the only chance of good offense for Detroit these days.

Real sticky defense bothers Kennard. He’s not comfortable or used to playing against players with uber quick hands. Fred VanVleet forces a turnover getting up in Kennard’s grill a bit.

DeMar is so smooth with those mid-range jumpers. He’s made Bullock, a decent on-ball defender in his own right, look silly multiple times tonight. It’s just better offense over matching good defense.

105-101 Raptors lead, 2:25 left. And now a Bullock three via a nice hand off / flip from Griffin. .... And now Bullock with a deuce in the paint, Pistons within one, 107-106. 1:05 left.

Legit foul call on Bullock as DeRozan rose up for another jumper... DeRozan going to the foul line. Raps now up three after his two makes.

Griffin kicks out to Ish for the triple and it goes down. %^&^!! That’s probably not what anyone had in mind… but Ish drained the shot! Give Ish credit, he’s never shy to let them fly no matter his poor percentages.

DeRozan gets a clear out, receives the ball and hits a tough, off-balance jumper with the shot clock almost at zero. Raptors up two with 17 seconds left in the game.

Blake Griffin hits a tough shot against Siakam and gets a foul call! Heady job by Griffin to get the contact from Siakam and then use his skill and strength to get the shot up. He hits the foul shot too. Pistons with the one-point lead..

And then DeRozan parts the red sea...or something like that… and dunks over a late arriving (and fouling) Tolliver. DeMar knocks in the free throw as well.

....

Pistons taking their final timeout, down two. 4.6 seconds left.

Griffin ties it with another strong, decisive move inside over Siakam.

114-114, we’re going to overtime.

Extra play time:

Not Andre Drummond’s finest game. His numbers don’t look too bad, but his actual impact..? Come on, we need some Drummond apologists to weigh in and make dolts of themselves.

2:28 left in OT, still 114-114.

Griffin complains after nearly every disputable call.

This VanVleet – Bullock jump ball try (twice now) is a real hoot.

119-116 after DeMar, who else, converts a tough jumper while being fouled by Bullock. DeMar with 42 points.

Kennard in for a hobbled Ennis. 51 seconds left.

Give it to Blake! He drills a three off the dribble and it’s all square at 119 with 36 secs left. Blake has an efficient 31.

Bullock had an open three but was short with it. Raptors come down and DeMar drives and kicks it to VanVleet for a long deuce that connects (2-of-10 shooting overall for the game). Ish tried for the charge call on the driving DeRozan, but it was not enough. One second left.

Blake got a contested three point look for the win, but was just a bit off.

Another loss for Detroit in a game they desperately needed.

I’m out of orange juice this time… so I guess it’s a drink of water and straight to bed for me.