A tuneup game in Motown went south for the Raps at the close. While they showed some spunk in roaring back from an 11-point deficit after Q1, & held a 1-point lead going into the fourth, the offense melted at the wrong time. The Pistons managed a so-so 18 in Q4, but it was just enough to escape with the win.
Lots of Raps played significant minutes, and the scoring was nicely balanced. DeMar DeRozan led with 17, the hustling John Lucas III tallied 16, and Jose Calderon chipped in 15. Bargnani managed but 10 in 22+ minutes, hampered by a hapless 1/5 from the line. While the Raps poured in 11 3-balls to the Pistons’ none (! – in 13 tries), the host team outrebounded our guys 47-32. DeMar once again showed his ability to draw fouls, as he had 9 points on 10 free throw attempts.
The biggest news of the day: Jonas Valanciunas hit the floor for 13+ minutes. He had a bucket and 2 blocked shots, and was +8. This being preseason, I’m sure Dwane Casey just wanted him to mix it up enough to feel like he’s on the team, without aggravating his wonky calf (There’s a conversation I wouldn’t want to have with my GM if I’m the Raps’ coach “Sorry, boss, our prized rookie centre blew out his calf in an exhibition game. He’s gone for the season. You’re good with that, right?…Right?”).
There’s some positives to be taken back to the Air Canada Centre. I’m liking the depth we’re showing. Alan Anderson & Terrence Ross played well in limited action, & Aaron Gray led the squad with 7 boards. Our backup PGs are scoring. However, Easy Ed Davis has yet to hit a basket in 2 games, and Amir Johnson reminded me too much of last year’s poor performance (after being excellent against Real Madrid) with a crummy 2 points & 2 boards.
The return match at home on Friday should be very interesting. At what point does Coach unleash Kyle Lowry? When do we start to show our season-opening rotation? Who’s going to survive what must be a nerve-wracking camp, and who’s going to become an unhappy bus-riding member of the Bakersfield Jam? Stay tuned, hoops fans, the fun has just begun.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.