Raptors 102, Pistons 95
A raft of reinforcements couldn't help the Detroit Pistons end a lengthy losing streak.
Chris Bosh had 25 points and 16 rebounds, Jarrett Jack scored 17 points and the Toronto Raptors extended their winning streak to a season-high four games, beating the Pistons 102-95 on Sunday.
Even with Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Gordon all back in the lineup, the Pistons still lost their seventh straight. Detroit has not topped 100 points in any of those defeats.
``We had our chances tonight,'' Gordon said. ``With all the injuries and guys coming back, I still thought we had a chance to win the game. We just didn't convert on plays that we needed to.''
Hamilton and Gordon each scored 15 and Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Stuckey both had 14 for the Pistons. Ben Wallace had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Andrea Bargnani scored 16 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 14 for the Raptors, who improved to 12-0 when holding opponents below 100 points.
It's the first time that Toronto has won three games over the Pistons in a season in the team's 15-year history. The Raptors beat the Pistons 110-99 in Toronto on Nov. 4.
Hamilton, who had missed 26 of the previous 28 games with a sore right hamstring, and Prince, out since Oct. 31 with a sore back, each started for just the fourth time this season. Gordon, out since Dec. 6 with a sore left ankle, came off the bench for Detroit.
All three returnees felt fine afterward, but faced some struggles, too. Hamilton shot 6 for 20 and Gordon went 4 for 15.
``You can do as many drills as you want but if you're not practicing and you're not playing, it's going to be a little different when you get out there on the floor,'' Gordon said.
Hamilton said adjusting to the speed of the game was particularly difficult on the defensive end.
``Sometimes when you haven't been out there in so long, you get out there and it seems like everybody is so fast,'' Hamilton said. ``Sometimes your feet are fast and your hands are slow. It's a lot of stuff.''
That showed in the first half, as the Raptors, fresh off a 94-64 victory in Detroit on Wednesday, roared out to a 60-41 lead at the break.
``I know how it is coming back from injury,'' Bosh said. ``You're not going to be the same in your first game back, that's how it is. We were trying to go up and down, we had to make them defend, put them in tough situations and make them move their feet.''
Once the Pistons get comfortable, however, they clawed their way back, outscoring Toronto 28-14 in the third to set up a tense final quarter.
The Pistons trailed 74-69 heading to start the fourth before Prince made it 85-84 on a turnaround jumper with 5:47 left. Detroit got the ball back after an offensive foul by Bosh, but Stuckey and Jerebko both missed jumpers.
At the other end, Bargnani converted a three-point play, with Jerebko fouling out. Gordon missed a jumper and Bargnani scored again, making it 90-84 with 4:00 remaining.
Two free throws from Gordon made it 95-91 with 33 seconds left but Jack went 4 for 4 at the line in the closing seconds to seal the win.
With the team finally at full strength, Hamilton said the Pistons feel as if they're getting a fresh start.
``It's kind of like, 'OK, now the regular season is starting again,''' he said. ``Guys are really trying to find their rhythm.''
Toronto used an 11-2 run to lead 29-22 after one, with no Pistons player making more than one field goal in the opening quarter and the team's first seven baskets each scored by a different player.
Detroit continued to shoot poorly in the second, finishing at 33 percent (14 for 43) in the first half while Toronto shot 62 percent (21 for 34). Bosh scored 11 points in the second and had 19 at the half as the Raptors led 60-41.
Toronto went cold in the third, making just 4 of 14 field goals and going 4 for 9 at the line as Detroit surged back, shooting 11 for 19 in the quarter. Jerebko scored 10 points in the third as the Pistons cut it to 74-69 heading into the fourth.
Notes: Stuckey scored a layup in the first that bounced in off the top of the backboard. ... Hamilton received a technical foul for arguing in the second and Gordon got one for arguing in the third. ... Toronto's Marco Belinelli fouled out for the first time in his career. ... At 2:49, it was the longest non-overtime game in Raptors history. ... Rapper Drake attended the game.