Detroit 129 Toronto 105
TAMPA, Fla. — The undermanned Toronto Raptors, missing five players and seven staff members including head coach Nick Nurse, needed help Wednesday.
Norm Powell and Kyle Lowry, the only two regular starters available, didn’t get it as the Raptors started well but predictably faded fast in a 129-105 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
The Raptors (17-18) were without starters Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby as well as Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
Siakam, VanVleet and Anunoby had accounted for 1,603 points this season, 42 percent of Toronto’s total prior to Wednesday.
Powell scored a season-high 36 points and Lowry added 21. But they got almost no assistance other than Chris Boucher’s 18 off the bench. Aron Baynes had 13.
“No excuses,” said assistant coach Sergio Scariolo, who took charge of Toronto for the second straight outing. “We had, for sure, enough players and coaches to have played a better game than this one.”
Wayne Ellington made eight three-pointers en route to 25 points for Detroit, which made a season-high 20 three-pointers on the night. The Pistons (10-25) had six players score in double figures.
“It was a tough night, a tough night,” said Lowry. “They made a lot of shots. Give them credit.”
Dennis Smith Jr., and Mason Plumlee each had triple-doubles for Detroit with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for Smith and 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Plumlee.
Trailing by 18 going into the fourth quarter, Toronto cut the lead to 14. But by then the Raptors toolbox was pretty much empty.
The Pistons, who had injury and illness problems of their own, snapped a three-game losing streak. They were 29th in the league prior to tipoff, having lost six of their last seven.
“Looks like We The North tonight!” the Pistons said cheekily on their official Twitter feed.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey, who went 320-238 in his seven seasons at the Raptors’ helm, called it “an excellent team win.” Detroit moved the ball, piling up 39 assists.
“I didn’t think we had a snowball’s chance with all of our guys out … I loved the way our guys competed,” he said.
The Pistons were without Jerami Grant, Delon Wright, Killian Hayes and Frank Jackson due to injury/illness. Star forward Blake Griffin is not with the team as it pursues trade options.
Jahlil Okafor and Josh Jackson, both dealing with their own issues, dressed but didn’t play.
It does get any easier for the Raptors, who had to get on a plane for a game in Boston on Thursday. The team can lick its wounds and heal up after that, with the league taking a break for Sunday’s all-star game in Atlanta.
After that Toronto is set to resume play March 11 against visiting Atlanta.
Toronto started Lowry, Powell, Baynes, Terence Davis and Yuta Watanabe. Davis and Watanabe shot a combined 2 for 14 for a total of six points (all from Davis).