Toronto Raptors get back on track against Detroit Pistons

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 26: Jonas Valanciunas
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 26: Jonas Valanciunas /

The Toronto Raptors halted their losing streak at two games, as they clinched an important win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night at the ACC.

What stood out most for the Toronto Raptors in their two losses against the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers, was how they started each contest. They fell behind big early and, despite furious comeback attempts, were ultimately unable to dig themselves out of the holes they created.

In this respect, it was a complete role reversal on Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons, as Dwane Casey’s team jumped out to an early 15-point lead and were up by 13 at the end of the first quarter. And while the Pistons clawed their way back into the game, the Raptors held on for an important 96-91 victory.

In theory, a Toronto team with only three home losses in 19 contests at the ACC this season, should have had little trouble against a Detroit side which entered the evening with a 9-14 record on their travels. However, there were two factors which allowed the visitors to make it close at the end.

The first was sloppy play by the Toronto Raptors, with 21 turnovers representing their second-most on the season. The other factor was an off night shooting the rock by the All-Star duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, who combined for just 12-of-29 from the floor. (DeRozan at least started off well, with 10 of his 17 points in the opening frame.)

Fortunately for DeRozan and Lowry, C.J. Miles helped pick up some of the slack. Even though Miles was only 7-of-16 himself on the court, this included 5-of-12 from three-point range as he finished with 21 points on the night, as well as four rebounds and an assist.

Casey was full of praise for the 13-year veteran after the game. As reported by the Canadian Press via Sportsnet, the Raptors’ coach said:

"“He really spaces the floor. He allows you if teams are double-teaming to pick them apart. We took advantage of that a few times … we did a good job of finding him and he did a good job of knocking them down.”"

Jonas Valanciunas also stepped up with 17 points, 16 boards, three dimes and one block. The 17 points and 16 rebounds marked the centre’s fourth double-double in January and 11th on the season, as he maintained the second-best player efficiency rating on the team.

More from Toronto Raptors

Despite his performance, even Valanciunas had problems containing Andre Drummond, who had an excellent night for the Pistons. The 24-year-old finished with 25 points and 17 boards, which were both game highs.

Ultimately, all that matters is the Toronto Raptors did enough to win, and avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season. However, they know they can’t afford a similar performance on Friday night, when they host the San Antonio Spurs.

In this respect, Casey summed up Wednesday’s game perfectly. As reported by Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun, he said:

"“It was an ugly win…As the game went on, we allowed the traps to get to us before we got rid of it. Again, we made it more complicated for ourselves, but you have to give Detroit credit.”"

Next: Raptors sloppy in loss to the 76ers

What was your main takeaway from Wednesday night against the Pistons? Which Toronto Raptors player stood out most for you and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.