Quick Reaction: Raptors 116, Pistons 94

Detroit 94 Final
Box Score
116 Toronto

S. Ibaka24 MIN, 14 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 5-11 FG, 4-7 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

Serge had a great game tonight controlling the paint defensively on opposing drives and also creating space in the offense by hitting his open shots. This is the player the team needs him to be this season, and he delivered tonight.

N. Powell23 MIN, 6 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 1-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 13 +/-

On a night when almost everyone was on their game, Norm was one of the few guys who looked just a little bit off. When he plays with the starters, Norm has to hit his shots, and his three point attempts didn’t look good tonight.

J. Valanciunas22 MIN, 18 PTS, 11 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 8-12 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 10 +/-

Jonas has been the best Raptor throughout the preseason, and he was great again tonight against Detroit. He’s always had good games against Andre Drummond, and he once again was able to get his offense whenever the team looked to him, which was often. His two three-point attempts both missed, but his form wasn’t that bad and as he gets more comfortable that might even be a shot that can go down for him. With the team passing more, JV has to take advantage of his opportunities, and he certainly did in this game.

D. DeRozan28 MIN, 13 PTS, 2 REB, 8 AST, 0 STL, 5-10 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 9 +/-

I’d give DeMar a higher score if there was one. This was a masterful performance, even early on when his scoring wasn’t there. He had four points on just 1-5 shooting in the first half but he controlled the entire offensive flow of the game with his passing. He was creating easy opportunities constantly for everyone around him, and the main beneficiary was Jonas Valanciunas, who DeRozan found again and again in good position near the basket. DeMar’s passing has been a revelation in the preseason, and it’s fantastic to see him opening up the offense for other guys. It came full circle in the second half as well, when the threat of his passing game made his scoring so much easier, because the second defender was reluctant to come over to help on his drives due to the threat of those assists.

K. Lowry28 MIN, 7 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 2-7 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 9 +/-

The box score for Lowry doesn’t pop tonight, but this was a solid outing from him. He let the game come from him and largely let DeRozan dictate the offense when the starters were on the floor, which worked great given the way DeRozan was playing.

J. Poeltl24 MIN, 12 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 5-5 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 9 +/-

If the competition for the backup center spot comes down to who has the strongest performances in the preseason, Jak might’ve locked it up here tonight. Good hands on the passes thrown his way and great positioning to find himself open for his teammates, as well as a strong presence on the boards, it was an all around great game for Poeltl.

D. Wright21 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 3-5 FG, 1-2 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 5 TO, 10 +/-

I absolutely love the chemistry developing between Delon and Fred Van Vleet in the preseason. The two guards have been fantastic when out on the floor together, and Wright had a great game tonight with his length and athleticism bothering Pistons players on defense, as well as both scoring for himself and creating for others on the offensive end.

O. Anunoby18 MIN, 2 PTS, 0 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 1-5 FG, 0-4 3FG, 0-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 14 +/-

It might look strange to give a guy an A grade with that line, but the performance really belies the stat line in this game. OG’s first minutes in a Raptors uniform were good, he was active at both ends of the floor, strong defensively, and once he is a little more willing to take those open three pointers they should start to fall for him. Showed some great passing to create interior looks for the big men.

F. VanVleet18 MIN, 10 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 3-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-4 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

Fred has to be the best third-string point guard in the league, and he always looks so poised out on the floor. Another great game from him tonight.

C. Miles15 MIN, 19 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 6-9 FG, 5-8 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 20 +/-

This is why CJ is here, to hit open threes, be active in the passing lanes, and play defense, and that’s what he did in this game. He really shone in the all-bench lineups, and hitting those outside shots opened up the game for everyone around him.

K. McDaniels9 MIN, 2 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -8 +/-

Despite playing entirely garbage time in a blowout, KJ managed once again to look like the favorite for the 15th roster spot, with some extremely athletic plays in the closing minutes.

P. Siakam5 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Siakam seems to have disappeared from the rotation somewhat at this point, which isn’t as much a knock on him as it is a statement of how good the small bench lineups with the two point guards, CJ Miles, and OG Anunoby were tonight.

A. McKinnie2 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

Only managed to get on the floor for the last two minutes, and didn’t really have time to make any noticeable contributions in this one.

L. Nogueira2 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

Hit a nice three in the last two minutes of the game.

Dwane Casey

The culture changes on offense really seem to be sticking, at least in preseason, and he gets credit for going to the all-bench lineups that worked tonight. Hopefully Casey sticks with that during the season and is able to use the Fred/Delon groups to reduce Lowry’s minutes, which has been a concern in previous seasons.

Things We Saw

  1. The defense from the starting lineup continues to be a work in progress. Detroit’s offense struggled early, but it wasn’t for lack of good looks. Despite that, the offense for the Raptors was good enough to negate any problems that were there tonight.
  2. The rotation looks to be working itself out at this point. With the starting lineup fitting together, and CJ looking more comfortable off the bench, it’s starting to feel easy to project where the minutes might fall on opening night. This is a deep, fun team right now.
  3. The big question of this Raptors season will come when the games matter, and the first time they face a deficit. Do they continue to play this fun, pass-happy style of offense, or fall back into old habits that have worked to get wins during the regular season? It’ll be interesting to see how that works out next week.
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