The Toronto Raptors disappeared once again in the fourth quarter of a winnable game, and the woeful Detroit Pistons took full advantage. The Raps were up 11 halfway through Q3, and led by 4 entering the final 12 minutes. The Pistons, clearly not impressed, wiped out the Raps’ lead, courtesy of a 15-2 run. The Raps regained the lead on a Rudy Gay 3-ball, but just as in Washington the night before, the opponents ran away from Toronto in the game’s final minutes, this time on a 15-4 spurt.
Rudy led the Raps tonight. His 34 points included 4 of 4 from distance, and he added 6 rebounds and 5 assists. His only faux pas was stylin’ on a dunk attempt off a fine pass from DeMar DeRozan. He went up with one hand for a fancy tomahawk and clanked the uncontested slam. Otherwise, he played his most complete game as a Rap. He didn’t have a lot of help, other than Jonas Valanciunas, who scored 17, and blocked 5 shots. DeRozan came up empty in crunch time, often forcing desperate jumpers as the shot clock sounded. He did score 15, but only got to the foul line once. Amir Johnson played like someone hiding an injury. He was a shadow of his normal self, and only managed 6 points and 3 boards. The Raps’ bench was of little use. Terrence Ross had his second straight scoreless night, and Alan Anderson was 1 of 5 from beyond the arc.
You won’t be surprised in the least to learn that Jose Calderon was brilliant for the Pistons. He needed only 12 shots to pour in 19 points, and dished out 9 assists against 1 turnover. Greg Monroe, the only Piston who looks like a rising star, was a load in this game. He displayed excellent moves close to the bucket, and a more-than-respectable jumper, on his way to leading his team with 24.
The Raps have 9 games left to rebuild some momentum and esprit de corps. They can start by defeating the Washington Wizards at home on Wednesday night.
Brian Boake is a co-editor 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.