Missing Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon and Richard Hamilton in Detroit four days ago, the Raptors handed them their sixth consecutive defeat and one of their worst losses in franchise history, holding them to 64 points.
However, in Toronto with Prince and Hamilton returning to the starting line up and Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva back off the bench for the Pistons, it still yielded the same result.
The Raptors brought that same defense that has now carried them on a four-game win streak, defeating the Pistons 102-95. The Raptors now boast a perfect 12-0 record when keeping opponents to under 100 points.
Starting off the game with an impressive first half, the Raptors lead at the break 61-40, holding the Pistons to a paltry 33 percent from the field. However, the Pistons rallied back with a solid third quarter, outscoring the Raptors 28-14 fueled by rookie Jonas Jerebko’s 10 points. Jerebko finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and two steals before fouling out in the fourth.
The game came down to the fourth quarter, and despite clocking in as the longest non-overtime game in Raptors history at 2 hours and 49 minutes, the Raptors held on for the win.
Raptors top scorers
Chris Bosh led the Raptors with a standout performance, leading all scorers with 25 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks. Turkish superstar Hedo Türkoğlu added 14 points with eight rebounds and two assists. Jarret Jack and Andrea Bargnani rounded out the rest of the Raptors scoring with 17 and 16 points respectively.
In addition to the Raptors improvement on the defensive end of late, is their ability to keep their composure and close out games.
“You have to keep your composure in instances like that,” Bosh said. “We knew that we were not really playing our best on defense and that is what we were talking about. We were not talking about our shots or anything. We had open looks and we missed them. But when it comes down to it, we have to play better defense. We can’t let out offence dictate our defense.”
Despite the return of Prince, Gordon and Hamilton, the three combined for 14-43 from the field and 2-9 from behind the 3-point line. Amidst concerns of rust and chemistry and Prince’s back injury that has kept him out of 26 of the Pistons 29 matches, Gordon didn’t see it as much of an issue.
Gordon and Hamilton lead the Pistons in scoring with 15 each, while Rodney Stuckey added 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Bosh just feels that it’s a matter of the Raptors doing what they are supposed to be doing.
James lifts Cavs to victory over Rockets
LeBron James sparked a game-deciding third quarter run as the Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the Houston Rockets 108-83 for their fourth consecutive win on Sunday.
James had eight of his 29 points in the first four minutes of the second half and the Cavaliers outscored the Rockets 32-15 in the third quarter to break open a close game. Cleveland trailed 16-4 early in the first quarter before responding to forge a 51-48 at halftime lead, with James blaming the sluggish start on a four-game Western swing in which they won three times. “You can’t shy away from the fact that those road trips take a toll on you when you come back home,” James told reporters. “You are trying to catch up on sleep but at the same time you have a job to do.”
Houston coach Rick Adelman admitted that a fourth game in five nights had also taken its toll. “We ran out of energy,” Adelman said. “It was just a very poor second half.” Mo Williams added 20 points and Shaquille O’Neal had 13 and 11 rebounds for the Central Division leaders. Williams sank four of the Cavaliers’ seven three-pointers with James adding two. Guard Aaron Brooks paced Houston with 23 points. Other NBA results: San Antonio 95, New York 88; Miami 114, Indiana 80; Dallas 104, Denver 96; LA Clippers 92, Boston 90. Cleveland Reuters