Quick Reaction: Raptors 107, Pistons 110

10 mins read
TOR Raptors 107 Final
Box Score
110 DET Pistons

K. Leonard36 MIN, 33 PTS, 10 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 11-21 FG, 5-8 3FG, 6-8 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 11 +/-

It still amazes me how strong Kawhi is. He was making a point of driving to the bucket and can bump anyone that stands in his way, even getting Drummond once or twice. The problem is that the Pistons were basically daring him to score on the drive and selling out to stop him. Kawhi was a little too slow on the pass to take advantage.

But he carried the offensive load and picked up his defensive game in the second half. The shot from deep was falling, as Kawhi regularly forced switches to open up space for a pull-up 3 from above the break. His shot was money tonight.

P. Siakam32 MIN, 12 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 6-13 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

The Raptors asserted themselves early in the second half and it was Siakam and Kawhi setting the tone. Kawhi asserted himself on offence, but it was Siakam who finally set a defensive tone for a team that needed it. He jumped passing lanes, opened up transition opportunities, and stopped losing his man on defence (something he did a few times in the first half).

His shot selection was not good. On several occasions he looked to attack Griffin and threw up an ill-advised mid-range shot after failing to get past him.

M. Gasol37 MIN, 9 PTS, 11 REB, 8 AST, 0 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-4 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 12 +/-

Gasol did some good things. He drew a charge early on Blake, caused some trouble for Drummond with fouls, made good kickouts to shooters, and hit some shots…but he was awful defensively as a whole. As I’ve said a few times, this wasn’t an issue for Gasol alone, but he wasn’t innocent.

The Raptors regularly lost their man on simple backcuts, and Gasol was not presence at the rim. Even Zaza took him off the dribble for a lay-up. One-on-one he was fine, but the help defence was absent.

J. Lin17 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 1-4 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Lin is fine as a third string point guard. He is not sufficient as a starting point guard. The offence just turns into a slog when he is running it, and he hasn’t been enough of a threat off the ball to force defences to account for him otherwise.

D. Green30 MIN, 12 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 4-9 FG, 4-8 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 8 +/-

Looked hesitant all night. Took the chance to shoot when he was wide open off kickouts, but hesitated whenever a defender was running out on him. We have seen nights when Danny just is a little more quick on the draw, and on a night when the offence was clogged up for stretches the Raptors could have benefited from Danny letting it fly a little more freely.

F. VanVleet31 MIN, 17 PTS, 1 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 6-10 FG, 4-5 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -4 +/-

It’s good to have Fred back. His absence was noted during his injury, and he was a breath of fresh air compared to Lin. Simply being a threat to either shoot or drive on each possession is an improvement. Fantastic return from Fred. Timing was a little off on the pick-and-roll, and the defence could use improvement (team-wide issues tonight), but an encouraging sign for his first game back.

And that is picking at straws. This was elite an great Fred appearance.

O. Anunoby19 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-2 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -5 +/-

Not a great OG night. In theory he should be a good option against Blake, with the size to manage him in the post and the quickness/length to guard him in space, but did not have a positive impact in this regard.

His best stretch came at the end of the third as he was matched up against Luke Kennard, first taking him off the dribble for an and-1 lefty lay-up, then draining the corner 3 after being left wide open.

N. Powell18 MIN, 10 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-8 FG, 1-4 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -11 +/-

Far too often it feels like Norm just tries to do too much with the ball in his hands. When he keeps it simple things often work out for him, but he gets into these stretches where he adds in 1-2 extra and unnecessary moves.

P. McCaw10 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -4 +/-

I’m on team McCaw, but this was not his best performance. I don’t expect much on offence from him despite being a reasonable three pointer shooter (Small sample size) over the last 5 games, but he repeatedly got lost or turned around on defence which was truly surprising.

E. Moreland10 MIN, 3 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -16 +/-

He hustles, earns extra possessions, and hit a three on his first career attempt. My big complaint about Moreland is that he falls down a lot. Not in a flopping sort of way, he just seemed to slip and fall a lot today.

Despite his efforts though the Pistons took advantage in the paint whenever Moreland was on the floor. Blake in particular took advantage, but Drummond absolutely crowned him late in the third quarter.

Nick Nurse

I would have liked to see a little bit more structure brought to the offence on a night where the team struggled with everything except 3 pointers. The Raptors made it rain but I can’t think of a single pass to the roller. The defence also struggled, but not sure how much to blame Nurse for this and how much was an effort issue.

Lin had too long a leash but this was likely due to some type of minute limit for Fred, but Nurse at least made the right call for the closing group (Fred, Danny, Kawhi, Siakam, and Gasol) even if it didn’t work.

Things We Saw

  1. I’m already tired of the Casey/Raptors storyline. I have little fear of the Pistons come playoff time (perhaps I should) but I can’t do a playoff series focusing on Casey and his dismissal from the Raptors last summer. I appreciate all he did as coach in Toronto and am glad he’s found some success in Detroit, I’m just done with this. Let’s leave it in the regular season.
  2. This game was played in Detroit, but it was at least partly a home game for Toronto. There was a great Raptors crowd was in attendance with cheers whenever the Raptors scored. Even the Pistons broadcast called out their fans for being “badly outnumbered by Raptors fans.”
  3. Blake Griffin is a problem. I was not a fan when he entered the league, or for many of his early years, but he has done an amazing job developing his game. He is a great shooter and reads the game so quickly with his passing. I’m glad that we are getting a healthy Blake season.

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