Toronto Raptors Chug Like a Piston and Show Something in Detroit


Toronto Raptors Chug Like a Piston and Show Something in Detroit

In the midst of a heartbreaking loss at Chicago and a steamrolling victory in New York, the Toronto Raptors win against Detroit deserves a deeper look. The Raptors started slow, but it’s not how you start… it’s how you finish (as learned against the Bulls Monday night). The Pistons got off to a 31-26 lead at the end of one, and were up by as many as 11. However, at the end of the half, the Raptors managed to tie the game up at 52.

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They were down all half long and didn’t take the lead until the second half. But then six minutes or so into the third quarter they were suddenly up 13. It seemed effortless – as the third quarter started they collectively said, “Okay, enough of this. We’re the best team in the East.”

And then, still in the third quarter, a serious situation ensued. Raptors’ utility man Landry Fields – recently upgraded to starter – went up for a running block of Pistons’ Kyle Singler‘s three-point attempt. Singler, though, was just faking his shot and went into a duck when Fields sprang towards him. Fields, suspended in the air, amidst a helpless feeling for sure, clipped Singler and flipped violently to the floor, slamming the back of his head on the court.

Fields though walked off with help after an extensive timeout and reportedly passed all concussion tests. However he did receive eight stitches to the back of his head. Fields has not played since and his status is listed as day-to-day.

The brightest part of this situation was how every member of the Raptors bench was up and onto the floor huddled around Fields, collectively praying for their fallen teammate’s well-being. This showed how much the Raptors value the aspect of team and how they much they care collectively as a team-unit.

Next item on the agenda of notable events in this game was a thunderous dunk by James Johnson. THUNDEROUS.

I wasn’t wrong, was I? “Putting it down with the Northern Touch,” says a combo of Canadian rappers including Choclair, Rascalz, and Kardinal Offishal.

However, the man posterized wasn’t too happy. Andre Drummond was noticeably riled, as was apparent by the next trip down the court for the Raptors. Johnson, got the ball down by the wing and drove. Drummond, met him at the block. As Johnson deked back to the middle, Drummond threw out a solid, apparently immobile, elbow to Johnson, a clear flagrant foul. (Don’t mind the biased Piston announcers who try to make the situation seem less dire. But lest we forget, they did witness the Malice at the Place, featuring the man previously known as Ron Artest.)

Johnson, an MMA fighter, was angry and got up seeking Drummond (who retreated to his bench). Johnson eventually laughed it off, realizing he has bigger fish to fry– or, more, likely, that Drummond was not worth his time. This, too, showed one Raptor putting the team first. Stopping Johnson from retaliating, Greivis Vasquez grabbed him to ensure he couldn’t get to Drummond. Meanwhile, the leaders intervened! Patrick Patterson and predominantly Chuck Hayes (below) made sure Drummond knew he did wrong– employing the Dikembe Mutombo finger-wave more horizontally in his face. The Raptors sticking up for their teammates, again, upping their team unity.

Dec 19, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard

Brandon Jennings

(7) dribbles the ball as Toronto Raptors center

Chuck Hayes

(44) defends during the fourth quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Raptors won 110-100. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

“‘That was nasty, but that’s basketball,” claimed a diplomatic Johnson. ”I don’t expect anything less from anybody that’s trying to win. Frustration sets in when you want to win– no hard feelings.”

By this time, the game was virtually over. The Raptors held on for the win. They gave up 30 in the fourth, but it was Jay Cutler-time (aka garbagetime). The Raps had eight players score over eight points– another quality team-effort.

CBS Sports reported that this was Amir Johnson‘s 400th career game. The one-time Piston, Johnson (below, blocking Josh Smith) was the last player in the NBA drafted directly out of high school– a noteworthy item for sure.

Dec 19, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward

Josh Smith

(6) passes the ball around Toronto Raptors forward

Amir Johnson

(15) during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Raptors won 110-100. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

A very notable point that shouldn’t be skipped was the crowd (below). This game was in Detroit, but it was almost as if you had the uniforms reversed, because it seemed like a home-game for the Raptors. There were still plenty of Pistons’ fans, but it was pretty incredible because the crowd, in total, seemed pro-Raptors. By the volume, it wasn’t even close. Toronto fans made the trip down the 401 from Southern Ontario to make the Palace of Auburn Hills the Palace of Raptor Thrills (ok, that was weak… I apologize). I mean, I do concede that Raptors’ fans had plenty more to cheer about than their counterparts, but it appeared that they felt the love.

The Raptors may need some love now as they set off for a Western roadtrip. And they will play the big boys. This should be the real barometer to see how good the Raptors really are. However, it looks like they will have to do it without All-Star Demar Derozan, who is still sidelined with an injury to his adductor.

Dec 19, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; The Toronto Raptors fans cheer from the stands during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Raptors won 110-100. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports