Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Raptors dump turnover-plagued Pistons

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[March 13, 2014]  TORONTO  Giveaways were the difference Wednesday night as the Detroit Pistons dropped a 101-87 decision to the Toronto Raptors.

The Pistons, whose road losing streak reached 10 games, turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 20 Toronto points.

"For us, over these last 14 games, we're averaging 11 (turnovers)," Pistons coach John Loyer said. "We've done it and have been second in the league. So just to come out and turn it over the way we did and not get good shots hasn't been our M.O. We had enough transition possessions and just came up empty on quite a few of them."

Guard DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with a game-high 25 points as Toronto defeated Detroit for the fifth time in six meetings.

Afterward, DeRozan admitted he began changing his preparation habits late last season.

"I always come in, sometimes late at night, and do the ice tub," he said. "Take care of myself the best way I can. It hasn't really been bothering me. I really realized when you play a lot of minutes, you definitely got to take care of yourself. You got to eat right (and) get the right amount of rest.

"Even all the little things I never used to do, I'm just trying to do all that so I can always feel fresh."

Toronto guard Kyle Lowry went 3-for-6 from 3-point range, and he scored 19 points. Forward Amir Johnson finished 8-for-14 from the field and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line for 20 points in the win.

"We had a tough loss in Brooklyn, it was coming off a back-to-back," Johnson said. "We had a day off and we knew that Detroit had a back-to-back, so we definitely wanted to emphasize our energy."

The win is Toronto's 15th in their last 19 at home and 10th victory in their last 13 overall.

Detroit's road record fell to 10-20.

Guard Brandon Jennings had a team-high 24 points for the Pistons (25-40). Detroit center Andre Drummond scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and forwards Greg Monroe and Josh Smith each had 13 points.

"They play well together," Monroe said of the Raptors. "They move the ball and they make a lot of mid-range shots. Tonight they just had too many offensive rebounds.

"I think that was the difference in the game."

Toronto finished with 15 offensive rebounds and a 54-39 overall edge in rebounding.

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"I thought the guards came back in and did a good job of helping out, putting a body on guys, sandwiching their bigs and cleaning up the lane," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of his team's rebounding. "I know Grievis Vasquez had eight rebounds, and all those were defensive. He did a great job, coming back and helping on the defensive boards."

The Raptors improved to 15-0 at home, 27-2 overall, when leading after three quarters.

Toronto (36-27) opened an 18-point lead to start the third thanks to a 13-2 run led by Lowry. The Raptors never looked back.

Led by Jennings and Smith, the Pistons went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter, tying the score at 29.

However, Toronto, helped by seven points off the bench, took a 52-45 lead into halftime.

The Raptors used an early 13-3 run, led by center Jonas Valanciunas and Johnson, to take 29-21 after the first quarter. Johnson finished the first quarter 3-for-4 from the field, while Lowry was 2-for-3 from 3-point range.

NOTES: Detroit fell to 5-10 under John Loyer, who was named head coach in early February. ... The Pistons are 3 1/2 games behind the idle Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. ... With their loss in Brooklyn on Monday, Toronto's Atlantic Division lead over the Nets shrunk to three games. Both teams won Wednesday. The Raptors have one division title in their previous 18 seasons, and they have not made the playoffs since 2008. ... NBA legend and former Raptors player Muggsy Bogues was in attendance. ... Detroit plays at home Saturday against the Indiana Pacers. Toronto continues its three-game homestand Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies and Sunday against the Phoenix Suns.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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