Raptors grab bounce-back win

The Canadian Press
Dhiren Mahiban

TORONTO–DeMar DeRozan called Friday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks a game the Raptors needed in order to get back on track.
Toronto moved back into the win column last night by dumping the Detroit Pistons 123-94, with DeRozan and Kyle Lowry leading the way with 20 points each.
“Not to make no excuse but a game like last game, we kind of needed it to knock us back on track, especially coming off a break,” said DeRozan, who added seven assists.
“We understand what we needed to do, what we need to get back to, and we did that tonight.”
Lowry added four assists and six rebounds while going 6-of-8 from three-point range as the Raptors (42-17) maintained a half-game lead over the Boston Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Pascal Siakam had 11 points, six assists, and five rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.
Andre Drummond led the Pistons (28-32) with 18 points and 18 rebounds.
Detroit now has lost three-straight and six-of-seven overall while falling three games back of Miami for the eighth seed in the East.
Ish Smith added 16 points and three rebounds while Reggie Bullock finished with 14 points.
“Obviously, we had a lot of offensive struggles and our bad offence led to some bad defence,” noted Pistons’ head coach Stan Van Gundy.
“Two main things that have been pretty common over the last two games on the defensive end that we’ve talked about is we are not doing a good job getting back and getting matched up.”
Jakob Poeltl drew huge cheers from those in attendance when he threw down a monster one-handed dunk on Drummond with 6:03 left in the fourth to give Toronto a 109-83 lead.
After allowing the Pistons back into the game to close out the first half, the Raptors responded by scoring 14-straight points early in the third quarter to lead by 20.
Toronto led by at least 16 the rest of the way.
“We knew that they played [Sunday] night so we wanted to make sure we kept the pace, and use our speed,” Raptors’ head coach Dwane Casey said of the third-quarter response.
“That’s something we didn’t do the first game back from the all-star break.”
Detroit closed the half on a 7-3 surge to cut Toronto’s lead to 59-53.
DeRozan led all scorers with 13 first-half points. Lowry added 12 points and five assists while going 4-of-5 from three-point range.
Toronto shot 51 percent and out-rebounded Detroit in the opening half, but was hampered by nine turnovers.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Minnesota dumped Sacramento 118-100, Boston beat Memphis 109-98, Brooklyn downed Chicago 104-87, Golden State bounced New York 125-111, and the L.A. Lakers upended Atlanta 123-104.
New Orleans topped Phoenix 125-116, Oklahoma City beat Orlando 112-105, Dallas downed Indiana 109-103, and Houston dumped Utah 96-85.