Raptors strung along

Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh keeps his body in front of Tony Delk of the Detroit Pistons during...

Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh keeps his body in front of Tony Delk of the Detroit Pistons during Wednesday night's game at the ACC. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

The Raptors are good enough to hang around with the best team in basketball.

But when push comes to shove, they are no match for the Detroit Pistons.

The Raptors last night ensured they will finish with a losing record, bowing 105-98 to the league-leading Pistons before a sellout crowd of 19,800 -- the second announced full house of the season -- at the Air Canada Centre.

This one was quite predictable. Coming off two rare wins against teams with winning records, including a night earlier against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Raptors put up a fight, but never looked as if they were going to escape with another improbable victory.

They played from behind almost the entire game and when they had chances to steal the momentum, the Pistons made shots -- many of the open variety. Weak defensively, the Raptors allowed the Pistons to shoot 50.6% from the field and nail 10 of 14 shots from beyond the three-point arc.

"Every time we gave them a shot, they knocked it down," Raps coach Sam Mitchell said. "They just know how to play,"

The defending Eastern Conference champions possess poise and experience, two traits that the Raptors are missing on many nights.

"They have no agenda other than trying to win basketball games," Mitchell said when describing the league's four premier outfits: The Pistons, the San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns.

"When you've got young players still trying to establish themselves, they can't understand that possibility right now. They've got so many other things and so many other people telling them things."

The Pistons also got the job done on the defensive end, blocking 11 shots and causing all sorts of trouble for Chris Bosh (6-for-18, 15 points). Late turnovers on consecutive possessions by Mike James and Morris Peterson extended a Pistons lead to 11 from seven and that was it.

"They have a tough defender on you and then they have four guys back to help," Bosh said.

"We thought we were a good defensive team, but you look at them and you can learn a lot."

Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups scored a game-high 26 points while James, who isn't afraid to shoot the ball, led Toronto with 24. Peterson had 23.

With Jose Calderon (tendinitis) placed on the inactive list yesterday, the Raptors signed Andre Barrett to a 10-day contract. Barrett, who had four points and six assists in 15 minutes, completed his second 10-day with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

The Raptors play host to Toronto's Jamaal Magloire and the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow night.


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