This game went down exactly how I said: the Pistons came out guns blazing from the tip, the Raptors weathered the early storm then put them away. This was what we wanted to see from our boys, facing an injury riddled team who is playing on the second night of a back-to-back, they beat the hell out of them. The Pistons were easy pickings with their top three players out with injury, and Villanueva walking wounded.
You have to hand it to Toronto’s strategy here, winning through attrition. The Pistons came out ugly. Missed shot after missed shot, but their bigs cleaned up the boards. Bosh and Bargnani were totally asleep on the defensive glass. Sure Bosh finished the game with 9 rebounds, but he did next to nothing in the 1st quarter when Wallace/Maxiel/Jerebko grabbed 7 offensive rebounds. Bargnani was no better, but at least he gets a pass for carrying the offensive load early.
I want to pick on Bosh here a bit, he didn’t seem very into this game. He wasn’t active, he didn’t really do anything, sure he got hung out to dry on two defensive rotations in the first half, but he was off. We didn’t get a great night out of him, 12pts/9rebs on 4-5 from the field and 4-4 from the line – in 33min of play, unacceptable. He didn’t take his first shot until the 4:43 mark of the 1st for crying out loud. While the Pistons front court is nowhere near where they used to be, they still have very active guys that can make you pay; and they made the Raptors pay last night. In all fairness though, Triano played him more then he needed too, 33min in this type of game, seriously?
One thing I was very pleased with was how Turkoglu and Jack were both in sync running the offense. They took turns creating off the bounce and got the rest of the team great looks to the tune of 18 assists on the night that led to 42 Raptor points. They ran that pick-n-roll to perfection, with half of the plays ending in a dunk or layup for the Raptors. 12 of the Raptors 35 made field goals were at the rim, with Turkoglu/Jack assisting on 7 of them.
Turkoglu’s playmaking is so important, I don’t even care about his scoring numbers. If he can drop 6-10 assists a game, grab 5-7 rebounds and play some defense, then anything he scores is icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.
Anyone else pull out there hair when that elite/all-star level *cough sarcasm cough* Detroit front court pulled down offensive rebound after offensive rebound? They had 30 second chance points off of 23 offensive boards. The Pistons grabbed 41% of all available rebounds on the offensive end. That’s insane! To put into perspective how important that was for them last night: their eFG% was 28.4% on the night were they scored 30 points at the rim. Had they not grabbed so many offensive boards, they might not have had more then 40 points for the game, no joke, that’s how bad they were shooting last night.
It was good to see the Raptors drop 94 points on a night where Bosh only contributed 12. Bargnani carried the scoring load, but Jack and Turkoglu accounted for 67 of the Raptors 94 points last night (they scored 25 and assisted on 42). Brilliant, just brilliant.
Also, Free Amir man. The kid needs more playing time. It’s a thing of beauty seeing him active in the paint.
Just wanted to wish all of you Happy Holiday season. From Christmas to Chanukah to Kwanzaa, all we can hope for is that Santa doesn’t take away the defensive intensity he brought us over the last few games. Stay safe and enjoy the break.Follow @raptorsrepublic