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Quick Reaction: Pistons 94, Raptors 123 - Raptors Republic: ESPN TrueHoop Network Blog
Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Pistons 94, Raptors 123

The bench? Good.

Detroit 94 Final
Box Score
123 Toronto

A
S. Ibaka24 MIN, 19 PTS, 9 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 7-14 FG, 3-8 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 14 +/-

Rested Ibaka is the best Ibaka. He played some really strong defense and was on the boards—always a good signal that he’s going to have a bouncy game. Most of his shots came off the catch, where he’s at his best, and most of them were open. He played well down the stretch last season—hopefully the same happens this year.

A-
O. Anunoby18 MIN, 8 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 3-4 FG, 1-1 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

OG looked much better tonight than he did before the All-Star break when he hurt his ankle, or even than he did last game against the Bucks. He was moving well and, instead of just standing in the corner—a good indicator he’s not 100 per cent—he made a bunch of intelligent cuts inside and took his man off the dribble a few times, resulting in some nice kick-outs.

B
J. Valanciunas22 MIN, 2 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 14 +/-

Like most of the starters, Valanciunas began slowly to start the game. Drummond got the best of him early on, making every look he got a tough one. But it was a tale of two halves, and while JV never really got going offensively, he at least took Drummond to task on defense in the second half, which included a monster block off the glass.

A
K. Lowry25 MIN, 20 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 6-10 FG, 6-8 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 12 +/-

Lowry was red-hot from beyond the arc all night long, pulling up in transition as he is wont to do and launching off of catch-and-shoots. He wasn’t nearly as good on the defensive side of things, but he simply hasn’t been as good on defense this season as in years past. Still, he took a couple signature charges and helped push the pace of the game to start the third, resulting in a 9–0 run for the starters. All this in 24 minutes. Hell yes.

A
D. DeRozan29 MIN, 20 PTS, 1 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 5-9 FG, 0-1 3FG, 10-11 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 14 +/-

This is the DeRozan we like to see! Well, okay, except for the blown dunk bit. That was weird. But besides that, DeRozan was efficient with his shots tonight and made a lot of smart passes, even if they sometimes didn’t look too pretty (e.g. the pass to OG that hit mesh but resulted in an and-one). This was DeRozan in control, and it’s hard to ask for much better.

A
P. Siakam24 MIN, 11 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 5-7 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-1 FT, 2 BLK, 3 TO, 17 +/-

I’ll never get tired of saying this: The guy’s energy is just infectious. The starters kicked off the game slowly, turning the ball over and looking lethargic. It wasn’t until the bench checked in—until Siakam checked in—that the hustle on the floor began to pick up. He was in the middle of things immediately, as usual, sprinting the floor and trying to take any lane inside he could find. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta respect what a guy brings to the table.

A+
J. Poeltl22 MIN, 8 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 4-7 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 10 +/-

Jak was fantastic. He guarded Griffin perfectly all night long, never allowing him any space to work and frustrating him enough that he eventually got a technical foul. To cap it all off, he also posterized Drummond late in the game—print that one off and put it on your wall!

A
D. Wright20 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 3-5 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 19 +/-

The pick and roll featuring Wright and Poeltl is one of the best parts of watching a Raptors game. Delon is a maestro, and outside of his gorgeous PnR ball handling, he also continued to display an ever-improving three-point jump shot. If he can reach a high-level of consistency in that area of his game, he’s gonna be really tough to stop.

B-
F. VanVleet19 MIN, 8 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-3 3FG, 3-3 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 14 +/-

VanVleet had an uncharacteristically poor first half, including a turnover where he pretty much threw the ball directly to Andre Drummond. Fortunately, he turned things around in the second, getting back to picking up guys full-court and making tough layups and three-pointers.

C
C. Miles15 MIN, 9 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-6 FG, 2-6 3FG, 3-3 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 14 +/-

Miles wasn’t too hot from distance tonight, but he didn’t have to be the way others were shooting. If you weren’t watching closely, you might’ve missed him in this one.

B
M. Miller9 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 9 +/-

Miller got some playing time tonight and was solid, staying within the flow of the game. He also nearly got into a scuffle with Griffin—who was trying to get into a scuffle with everyone—which is really just a testament to how well Ibaka and Poeltl played.

F
N. Powell8 MIN, 7 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-4 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Powell played poorly. He was a big factor in the Pistons run against the starters in the second quarter, allowing his man to sneak away from him and failing to communicate well on switches. Not great for a guy looking to get more minutes.

B
L. Nogueira4 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 7 +/-

He came in, he made a three. Because that’s what seven-footers do.

A-
Dwane Casey

Overall, a good game for Casey. It was interesting that he decided to give OG’s second quarter minutes to Powell, though. It obviously didn’t work out well as a basketball decision, with the Pistons making a big run during that span, but perhaps the aim is to keep OG well-rested as Toronto streaks towards the playoffs, especially with his recent injury. In that sense, it was probably a smart decision. Let’s choose to look at the glass half-full.

Things We Saw

  1. The starters need to change something at the beginning of games. Whatever Casey says to them at halftime to get them to come out the way they do in third quarters—firing on all cylinders—he needs to start saying prior to the game. Something. Anything. The Pistons had no business hanging around for the entire first half.
  2. What’s up with losing guys on back-cuts? The Raptors have been doing it all season long, most notably in their throttling of the Celtics just before the break—Theis couldn’t finish anything on those cuts—their loss to the Bucks last game—Henson could finish everything on those cuts—and now tonight, with opponents just running amuck. Casey brought this up as a concern prior to tonight’s game, and it continues to be one.
  3. Dwight Buycks was gunning for a revenge game. It didn’t happen. I still like Dwight Buycks.
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