Quick Reaction: Pistons 127, Raptors 121

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Credit: Getty Images, Cole Burston

Dwane does it again.

Kyle, Manny and Zarar:

Pistons 127 Final
Box Score
121 Raptors

A-
P. Siakam35 MIN, 25 PTS, 12 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 9-14 FG, 2-3 3FG, 9- FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +1 +/-

He shot a high percentage, played excellent help and man-defense, and was racking up the assists. A critic might say that a lesser emphasis on playmaking and more on getting his own individual offense going in times of droughts is what’s needed (like in that early fourth quarter). But overall he became more assertive with his offense as the game progressed. This was only his third game back and he looked much better so only good things to come here. Yes, his game isn’t smooth and fluid as we saw on that terrible offensive foul with a little over a minute left, and that’s just homework.

B+
O. Anunoby38 MIN, 17 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 7-14 FG, 2-8 3FG, 2- FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, +3 +/-

If you want to know what an OG-less offense looks like, look no further than the lineup of Barnes, Banton, Svi, Siakam, and Trent in the fourth where nobody was able to create anything. I expect his TOs to increase as his usage rates increase (up 4% this year to 23.6%), but a couple of his turnovers were pure sloppiness which allowed the Pistons to come back in the late third. Other than that minor blemish, another all-around game where he was a central part of the Raptors offense. The efficient stat line speaks for itself, but what it doesn’t show is that his isolation drives twist the defense and start sequences that lead to a big part of the Raptors offense. When he’s not in there, the impact is significant. Defensively, though, could not contain Cade or Grant in key one-on-one situations despite playing fundamentally strong defense.

C+
S. Barnes38 MIN, 11 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 4-10 FG, 0-0 3FG, 4- FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -5 +/-

He’s seeing consistent double teams even away from the rim because he’s shown that he can pick out passes and put it on the floor, and the defense doesn’t want to take a chance with either. The Pistons made a point to not let Barnes dominate, and the Raptors seem to go away from Barnes-initiated offensive sets (especially the high post offense) which meant he was reduced to a peripheral, but yet impactful, figure. I just loved that he has the audacity to try to dunk over two guys (and almost did). He did try to push his own offense but just had some unlucky bounces on the rim from close range. Overall, he’s got to look for his offense even more.

B+
G. Dragic28 MIN, 16 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 6-12 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +6 +/-

Came from a nine game Siberian exile to start with Fred VanVleet out. Had a nice cut on a Scottie double, a mid-range jumper early and ran the early offense well enough looking to pass after quick drives without over-dribbling. Then hit two big threes in the third when the offense was in a rut and got transition scores in the fourth when the defense was celebrating the just-made shot. Defensively he’s not up to par both in terms of speed, the amount of pressure he’s able to put, and was a bit untidy in boxing out his man.

B+
G. Trent Jr.38 MIN, 23 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL, 8-16 FG, 4-10 3FG, 3- FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

A+ for the first half. C for the second. Kept the Raptors in the game in the first half looking quite comfortable in his skin on offense. He doesn’t make up his mind on what he’s going to do beforehand and instead evaluates what the defense is conceding and acts accordingly. His pull-up game is quality, he’s got a floater going, and his mid-range game is on point. He was also very vocal in calling out imbalances and ensuring the ball gets to where the mismatch is. However, he needs a primary scorer like OG to draw attention away, and as we saw in the poor second half still falls in the streaky category of scorer. He’s got to shed that label. Also, missed a big wide open three which is where the crowd lost its faith in the outcome.

D-
C. Boucher12 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-2 3FG, 1- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -6 +/-

Brutal. Airballed a wide open three and fouled a three-point shooter needlessly. Left the game with a back problem.

D
K. Birch16 MIN, 4 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-0 3FG, 4- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -4 +/-

No Precious tonight and the Pistons have some quick bigs which meant Birch had to worry about face-up defense further out than he’d like, and the results were not good. Even in his comfort zones around the rim he looked uncomfortable.

D
M. Flynn4 MIN, 4 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +3 +/-

Flynn is undergoing an identity crisis where he has to figure out what unique quality and competitive advantage he can supply for the Raptors. Right now it’s not clear, and the best one can surmise is that he’s trying to get into the elbow area hoping to find either a shooter or a roll man, but it isn’t materializing because I’m guessing, nobody else has an idea on what he’s trying to manufacture either.

A-
D. Banton19 MIN, 12 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 4-6 FG, 1-1 3FG, 4- FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -16 +/-

The usual Banton. That plus/minus stat is nasty but that’s because he was playing a bench unit where the offense was non-existent. I’m always pleasantly surprised just how quickly he gets into the game after coming in. I like that he calls his own number because it’s sometimes the most effective option.

C-
S. Mykhailiuk12 MIN, 7 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -8 +/-

Did not have the defense impact that we’re accustomed to, and with Dragic having a bit of a decent game didn’t really know know where he fit on the court with him. A game to forget, especially on D where he didn’t seem to understand when to switch and when to stick.

B
Nick Nurse

I have no problems with his coaching here. He was short Fred which meant he needed to experiment with Flynn and Dragic. At some point he has to give OG a break so that fourth quarter drought can’t be always prevented. I guess he could’ve used the zone that was so effective against the Sixers, but Detroit was making their shots in the fourth.

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