T-Mac has the Last Laugh

Call it the bottom-feeder bowl or just a game amongst bad teams, but if there was even a game for the Raps to get it together and claim a much needed victory this game was it. After this game they would head out on a 5 game roadtrip against several of the elite team and they could use some momentum heading into those games. So how would they do on a Friday night game against T-Mac and the Detroit Pistons.

This game started off with both teams pretty much going back and forth and trading buckets. The Raptors were first to get on the scoreboard first off a Jose feed leading to an Amir flush. Jose then gets a steal and DeMar scores in transition, and the Raps had a quick 4-0lead and it looked like it may just be one of those nights. Prince quickly answers to give Detroit their first points. The back and forth effect would kick into 6th gear from here. T-Mac, who has really stepped his game up as off late, was hearing it from the ACC crowd, but he didn't seem to let that phase him as he went to work and finished with 9 points to go along with 3 assists in the quarter. Seems like he may not be washed up yet and is out to prove it. He's also looking a lot more comfortable in that play-maker role. On the Raptors side of things, they seemed to be in a sharing mood as they had 9 assists on their 12 made FG's, highlighted by a DeMar dunk and a few jumpers by Bargnani. When the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the quarter the Raps trailed 31-26, Bargnani was their lead scorer with 10.

Toronto was first to score again in the 2nd quarter and continued to share the love with the assists, but the Pistons will then take control of the game led by Charlie V and Ben Gordon and would claim an 44-33 lead at the 8:30 mark. This was mostly due to the Raptors playing sloppy basketball and turning the ball over several times. That lead would peak at 14 before things got interesting and the Raptors started to make their run and it all started with a guy by the name of Ed Davis. After getting a put-back dunk at the 4:41 mark, Davis would block a Stuckey layup attempt, which lead to a DeMar score in transition and just like that it was a 10 point game. DeMar would then pick up a tech about two minutes later after arguing a call, then Triano would pick one up not too long after. From there it seemed like the Raps had all the momentum as they would go on a run to go into the break trailing by on 7 points, with the Pistons up 61-54. On the not so bright side, Leandro Barbosa left the game with 8 seconds left with what seemed like a hamstring injury and had to be carried to the locker room. Hopefully it wasn't as bad as it seemed.

So will that momentum continue into the third or would the Raps let the Pistons regain control of this game and rebuild that lead?

It didn't seem that way as the Pistons would draw blood first in the second half and would regain that double digit lead they once had, despite some made baskets from Bargnani and Calderon. I'm not sure what Triano said at halftime, but it didn't seem like he stressed boxing out as the Pistons were grabbing a ton of offensive boards, especially Chris Wilcox. DeMar on the other hand had his hands fulls with T-Mac and would ultimately pick up his 4th foul and head to the bench for a while. The Pistons would once again start increasing that lead, but it would peak at 15. The Raps made several attempts at putting a string of makes together but Detroit always had an answer. Their final run would be initiated by an Amir dunk, as they would finish the quarter on a 11-5 run to pull themselves within 6, but T-Mac would have the final say as he hits a three to silence the crowd to bring the lead back to 9. He also had a pretty sweet driving dunk in that stretch. Linas Kleiza who was silent for much of the game came alive dunking that run and scored 6 on the 11 points.

Trailing 83-74 heading into the forth, will the Raptors be able to make one final push to get the victory or will Detroit get yet another victory at the ACC. For much of the first few minutes in the quarter neither team couldn't seem to get an offensive flow going, but eventually they would and this game would have a pretty exciting ending. After getting the lead to 7 and 8 several times it seemed like Detroit just wasn't going to let Toronto have any chance of completing the comeback, as they did a month again in Detroit. They were even hitting nearly impossible shots, evident by Tayshaun Prince's high arcing desperation shot just as the shot clock expired. But then Andrea Bargnani decided to take over and try to lead his team to victory. After hitting two consecutive shots to pull his team within 5, one of which can off an offensive put-back, it seemed like maybe the Pistons would once again collapse to the Raptors team, but T-Mac quickly answered with a reverse layup. DeMar then joined in on the action and made a shot with 55 seconds left to pull the Raps within 5 once more. McGrady would miss his next shot giving the Raps another opportunity to chip away at the lead, but Calderon threw a pass to Amir that he wasn't prepared for and just like that this game was over. Detroit would hit a few FT's and jose would hit one last shot, but in the end the Raptors fell 101-95.

T-Mac led the Pistons with 22 points and added 5 assists, while Bargnani led the Raps with 31 points and pulled down 9 rebounds( if only he could do that more often). DeRozan chipped in with 15 points. In a game that they really needed to win before heading out on the road, the Raps once again let the efforts of Andrea and DeMar go to waste down the stretch and end their 3-game home stand with a 1-2 record. Up next they head to Washington for a Saturday night showdown with the Wizards tomorrow.

Additional Game Notes:
  • Richard Hamilton did not play in this game
  • Leandro Barbosa's injury's has been diagnosed as a right hamstring strain, not sure he'll be able to go tomorrow
  • the Raptors 5-game streak of shooting 50% or above from the field came to an end tonight
  • Greg Monroe's streak of 4 straight double doubles ended tonight, he finished with 11 points and 7 boards
  • 2 of Detroit's 4 road wins this season have come in Toronto

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