Pistons dominate Raps in Toronto

Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons' Greg Monroe....

Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons' Greg Monroe. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 PM ET

The Detroit Pistons weren’t about to get embarrassed again.

After blowing a 25-point lead last time they met the Raptors, Detroit cruised after building an 18-point first-half bulge on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre for a 115-93 win.

Rip Hamilton led the way with a season-best 35 points for the 10-19 Pistons. Leandro Barbosa had 21 and Linas Kleiza added 19 for the 10-19 Raptors.

The Raptors have now dropped eight of their past 10 games.

Just like at the earlier meeting at the Palace of Auburn Hills, turnovers were the reason the Raptors fell down big.

After turning it over 14 times in the first half in Detroit (to one Detroit turnover), the Raptors managed to do it again, leading to 21 Pistons points as the team built a 62-44 lead through two. The Pistons outscored Toronto 38-19 in the second quarter.

The final damage was a season-worst 24 turnovers for the Raptors and just eight for Detroit.

Raptors head coach Jay Triano implied that selfishness helped contribute to many of the mistakes on offence.

“We have to move the basketball, we can’t do things individually,” Triano said.

Detroit star Ben Wallace, playing in the 1,000th career game of his remarkable career, had six rebounds and three blocked shots.

Wallace said the debacle in Detroit was fresh on the team’s mind.

“We remember what happened last time at the Palace. We haven’t forgotten,” Wallace said.

With backup Jerryd Bayless — who blitzed the Pistons for 31 points in the Miracle at the Palace — unavailable, the usually reliable Jose Calderon had only Leandro Barbosa available to give him a rest. Calderon, who has been playing through a foot injury, had nine assists at the half, but shot just 1-for-5 and committed five turnovers. Calderon finished with a career-worst eight turnovers.

Triano said playing with a depleted roster was difficult, especially with Calderon and Andrea Bargnani struggling.

“Our best players are banged up a little bit, Jose and Andrea and they both had horrible games,” Triano said.

“If you’re going to win with a depleted lineup, than your guys have to step up. I credit those guys for trying to help their team, but they didn’t play very well.”

To make things worse, starting power forward Amir Johnson did not return for the second half after his back spasms flared up, while Bargnani also had to leave briefly, due to a strained left calf.

The short-handed Raptors were also missing Sonny Weems (back spasms of his own), Reggie Evans and Peja Stojakovic.

Things started off well for the home side as DeMar DeRozan slammed home an alley-oop pass from Calderon on the first play of the night, followed by a Tayshaun Prince turnover, but a couple of ex-Raptors then took over.

Tracy McGrady — still serenaded with catcalls a decade after leaving the team in the lurch — turned back the clock with a silky-smooth 15 point (on 7-of-8 shooting), four assist half and finished with 17, plus seven rebounds and seven assists.

McGrady led the charge of the Detroit bench, which outscored Toronto’s limited list of reserves 62-41.

The Raptors defence was non-existent. The gang in white seemed content to stand around and watch for far too often as the Pistons got whatever shots they wanted and a host of points on the fast break.

As a result, the Raptors became the second home side to hear boos at the ACC in a matter of days during a particularly awful third quarter stretch — but no waffles hit the court. A small victory at least.

Not exactly the way Triano wanted to go into the holiday break.

The team will now get four full days off before reconvening in Memphis on Dec. 27th for a meeting with the Grizzlies.


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