After a dispiriting performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit arrived in Toronto to face the 7-6 Raptors on the second night of a back to back. Prior to tonight, the Pistons had lost their past 8 games in such situations.
While all eyes were on the match up of No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks, Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes, respectively, Detroit was able to put together a complete performance against a strong Toronto outfit for a 127-121 win.
The Pistons, uncharacteristically, came out of the gate hot, connecting on 5 of their first 8 shots including 3-of-4 from downtown. Saddiq Bey hit his first two 3-point attempts and showed no hesitation on either try. However, after taking a 13-7 lead, Detroit would give up a 15-0 run, largely due to an 11-point outburst from fourth-year guard, Gary Trent Jr.
Josh Jackson was able to provide a spark off the bench in the first quarter with six quick points and his usual hustle on the defensive end. As a result, the Pistons were able to close the quarter on a positive note, trailing the Raptors 34-31.
Pascal Siakam started the second quarter showing why he is an All-Star. Siakam kept the Pistons defense honest with his elbow jumper and ability to hit the open man, finishing the half with five assists. The Pistons bench, lead by Frank Jackson, was able to keep the team afloat with a much needed scoring punch. Jackson opened the period with a quick eight points, continuing to build off his last quarter in the previous game in Cleveland.
After a back-and-fourth quarter, the Pistons would put together a 7-0 run late in the second to help give them their first lead of the night. The run was quarterbacked by some elite individual and team defense by Killian Hayes and Jerami Grant. Grant had a great weak-side block on Barnes which allowed the Pistons to score in transition:
Grant was also able to convert on the offense end, putting up eight points in the quarter. Killian Hayes also played one of his best halves of his career, finishing the quarter with 7/5/5, playing a large role in the team having a 65-64 lead over Toronto.
The Raptors came out ready in the second half, a pair of back-to-back threes from Siakam and Dragic capped a 14-3 run by the Raptors, giving them a nine-point lead. To make matters worse, both Cade Cunningham and Hayes re-aggravated their respective injuries, which sidelined them for the remainder of the quarter.
However, Pistons sophomores Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey would put together a nice stretch midway through the quarter to help regain a slight lead over the Raptors. Stewart had his highest scoring quarter of the season, scoring 10 points in the quarter. Bey had impressive back to back steals on OG Anunoby, which allowed the Pistons two score back to back buckets and take an 85-84 lead:
Aside a couple of horrific back to back turnovers on the part of Cory Joesph, the Piston bench would help close the quarter down only 2, 95-93.
Pistons fans were collectively able to breath a sigh of relief as both Cunningham and Hayes returned to start the fourth quarter. Hayes came out aggressive, in the first few minutes of the quarter he was able to hit a pair of threes and dish out 3 assists. His play was the catalyst to a 15-5 run, giving the team a 108-100 advantage.
From the 7-minute mark of the fourth, each team would go back and fourth trading buckets. For the Raptors, Siakam continued to his strong play and almost willed the Raptors over the line. However, it would be Cunningham and Grant that would put together a myriad of impressive plays on the offensive end, to lead the Pistons to an impressive road win.
Grant scored 14 in the quarter and a team-high 24 points. Cunningham, after struggling in the first three quarters, lived up to his “clutch” reputation with seven points in the final five minutes of the game. His final two baskets in particular were impressive, he finishes twice at the cup over Anunouby, which is no easy feat:
Killian Hayes had his best performance as an NBA player tonight, finishing with 13/7/10 on great efficiency. He showed great intent with the ball tonight and was able to keep the offense rhythm.
The Pistons ran out victors 127-121 behind a whole team effort, in what was probably a first for the season, both the bench and starters were able to play well simultaneously. The Pistons have now won their past 5 games against the Raptors, Dwane Casey certainly knows how to get his troops ready to play his former team.
Also, man, it’s nice when the shots fall, 127 is the highest amount of points the Pistons have put up this season.
Detroit will look to put together their first win streak of the season when they host the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.