The Detroit Pistons owned the boards, but the Raptors won the battles from distance & the foul line. The Raps’ unlikely winning streak, now a 4-gamer, was maintained largely because the crafty Jose Calderon took what the Pistons gave him. Detroit defenders were in Jose’s face all game, so he shot little & passed plenty, ending with 7 points and 17 assists. DeMar DeRozan’s jump shot was once again on target, as he poured in 23 points. Alan Anderson, the Q4 Assassin (I just made that moniker up – how do you like it?), scored 16 and Ed Davis added 11.
As befits two teams at the bottom of the table, this game was a riot of missed opportunities. When Anderson poured in another 3 over Kyle Singler for an 11-point lead with 6:25 to go, the game should have been over. However, the Pistons wouldn’t go away, & nearly four minutes passed before Calderon ended another Raps’ drought with a 3. The game’s last 30 seconds took forever, but Charlie Villenueva’s two 3-ball attempts went clang, the Raps made their foul shots, and a win was in the books.
The Pistons’ giant rookie, Andre Drummond, was pulling down rebounds all game but looked every bit the nervous newbie from the line where he was 2-of-7. Greg Monroe, the other Piston man-mountain, single-handedly kept his team in the game with 10 boards and a ridiculous 35 points. Jonas Valanciunas, the victim of many of Monroe’s backdowns, didn’t fold entirely, scoring 12 of his own. JV’s on-the-job training will pay dividends, no matter how painful it is in the short run. He is learning not to leave his feet on every pump-fake, & will get physically stronger as he matures. Davis and Amir Johnson (a warrior in the end-game, returning from a turned ankle to make several key plays) led the Raps’ rebounding with nine each. The Pistons were much stronger as a team, collecting 44 boards to the Raps’ 33.
The Raps’ streak has a chance to continue as long as Jose continues to play out of his mind. The superb feeds he consistently gave our bigs were the main reason why their shooting percentage was so sky-high. Davis, Amir and JV missed just three shots of 14 as a group, largely because of Jose finding them at the right split-second.
Orlando is in town tomorrow night – can the Raps’ conjure up another victory against the Magic?
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.