Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

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The combination of a tough shooting night on the entire team and an opponent still buzzing after an ugly knockdown was too much for the Toronto Raptors to overcome.

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The Raptors hovered around the 30% shot mark all night, while host Detroit Pistons did not look like the team that was blown out by 46 points by the Chicago Bulls three nights earlier, and those two factors were more than enough to swing this in Detroit’s favor. .

Head coach Nick Nurse did not even try to explain to a team that looked good in the previous match, and then just came out inexplicably flat despite being a rested group.

“I do not know,” said the nurse. “We are just getting out on the road again and need to respond to being ready in the beginning. And we need some lifting when the guys are not ready from the bench and we just searched for some answers most of the night and did not seem to have any. “

The Pistons were in control for most of the first three quarters, and only a push from the Raptors in the fourth got it even close to respectable as Detroit held on to a 103-87 victory.

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Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby, the guys who were to lead this offense, scored a total of 61 points.

The remaining eight players who saw the pitch for the Raptors only got 22 points and that just wasn’t enough.

But no one outside of Chris Boucher, who had 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, even came close to 50% shooting from the field at night.

Scottie Barnes, who is returning from a knee injury and has recently returned from a stay in the league’s health and safety records that took him out of action for about a week, is struggling to find his way back to where he was.

“Well, it’s enough, he had such a great rhythm in his COVID fight, and it’s probably working itself out of it,” the nurse said. “I think we have one or two guys who probably still do. Also talked about it with Gary. They were really starting on it and it just requires, you know, Yuta is someone else. There needs to be some gameplay. to before those guys can get their legs back under them and just the speed of the game and that sort of thing. “

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Canadian national team member Trey Lyles came off the bench for the Pistons, giving them 21 points and seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks to lead Detroit.

VanVleet led Toronto with 24 points and 10 assists, but was only 6-to-21 on a tough shooting night. Pascal Siakam also had 21 and 12 rebounds in a losing case.

A BIG LOSS EARLY

It happened relatively early and it had a lasting effect on the Raptors for the rest of the game.

Khem Birch remained glued to Piston’s prodigy Cade Cunningham as he navigated the paint under the basket on one side and out of the other. When he turned to the reverse layup, his elbow came up and caught Birch flush on his nose.

The blood started and Birch’s night ended as he went back to the locker room for x-rays.

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The worst case scenario unfolded there when the Montreal native found out he had broken his nose. He was on a plane back to Toronto after the match. There was no immediate message about how long he would be out.

Birch is not one of the Raptors’ three big ones or even four big ones, but he is a contributor to what they do and his absence was felt last night and will be felt until he returns.

Gone were the screens and one of VanVleet’s comfortable pick and roll partners. And gone was much of the Raptors offense that Birch helps set up.

“It’s definitely a big part of what we do,” head coach Nurse said of Birch’s solid basic skills. “It kind of keeps the offensive going. He is a reliable screener. He is also quite attentive when it comes to making a game for him. He also gets his share of offensive rebounds or at least tips to keep the ball alive. He takes like what comes to him. It’s good to have one of those guys out there who can do the other things on the offensive to keep us going. ”

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Well, Birch left four minutes inside the game and the Raptors’ attack died a bit with that departure.

Without Birch reveling in the physical game, and without doing the little things that make the offensive go, the Raptors’ miserable 28% shot from the field in the first half and dug themselves a 13-point deficit in the half because of it .

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CASEY STILL HAS A TAPE

Dwane Casey is in the midst of his fourth season with Detroit, but the former Raptors’ head coach need not go too deep into the memory banks when asked about the current harvest of Raptors that came up under his watch.

Casey was asked about VanVleet and his all-star chances and did not surprisingly give his former player a brilliant recommendation.

“He’s become Kyle Lowry,” Casey said, giving VanVleet the highest compliment a Toronto point guard of this generation could receive. “He’s a clone of Kyle. Same body type, same knowledgeable management. I’m proud of him, where he’s come from, from where he’s, it’s a huge leap, what he’s done, but he’s been that way.” He’s been a winner in college, in high school, “Casey said.” And then when he first went in and training camp, and we’re trying to decide whether to keep them or not. He showed it then in the training camp. So he deserves everything he gets and what he does, and we just hope it’s not you know, tonight, but he should be an all star. “

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