Pascal Siakam, Darko Rajakovic, and the Toronto Raptors were expected to come in and rip the Detroit Pistons apart at home. Detroit’s 2-11 record was the worst in the NBA coming into Sunday’s game, and Monty Williams has overseen an improbable 10-game losing streak after a promising 2-1 start.
The Raptors needed this welcome reprieve, as they had just finished one of the most brutal beginnings to a season in franchise history. The Raptors played Eastern Conference contenders like the Bucks, 76ers, and Celtics twice each (1-5 record those games) while also playing elite Western foes like the Timberwolves and Mavericks through 12 games.
Rajakovic’s offense has been the subject of some criticism due to their poor half-court numbers and inability to get going from 3-point range. It turns out that playing potential NBA champions every other night can weigh down the averages, while playing tanking teams like the Pistons and Washington Wizards give them a boost.
Siakam led the charge with 23 points in 29 minutes as the Raptors demolished Detroit 142-113 in one of the most embarrassing results you’ll see all season long. The Raptors set a new franchise record for assists in a game (44).
When Rajakovic’s offense can get into a rhythm against a vulnerable team, it can sometimes look genuinely spectacular.
The Toronto Raptors’ offense was perfect against the Detroit Pistons.
Just about everyone had something to smile about in this game. Scottie Barnes was +37 and chipped in 17 points, Jakob Poeltl had another double-double to go along with three blocks, and Dennis Schroder was the primary ignitor early for this offense. The bench, led by Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa, tallied 53 points.
The Raptors assisted 44 of their 55 made shots, showing that Rajakovic’s emphasis on ball movement and constantly making the extra pass would eventually turn into something worth watching. The bench playing as well as it did was perhaps as important as the starters collectively dominating.
The Pistons are suiting up a collection of players that might need to sweat out wins in the G League at this point, but the Raps’ process offensively was infallible in this game. With some games against less-heralded teams coming up, Toronto was able to get the nasty taste from the Boston game out of their mouth.
The fact that Toronto has largely taken care of business against substandard opponents shows this offense can get their stars in positions to succeed consistently when they aren’t going up against the best of the best. If they can play even half this well every night, the confident Siakam and Rajakovic may end up in the postseason.