Detroit Pistons edge to 112-107 win over the Toronto Raptors

Blake Griffin scored 14 of his 27 points in the first quarter as the Detroit Pistons finished with plays at both ends of the court to beat the Toronto Raptors 112-107 in overtime on Sunday night.

Detroit took advantage of Toronto resting star forward Kawhi Leonard less than 48 hours after he made the go-ahead shot in the closing seconds of their win over Portland.

The highly charged, closely contested game in Detroit may be a first-round matchup in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Meanwhile, both teams had chances to win in regulation, and in the extra period.

Reggie Jackson put the Pistons up 96-91 with 1:56 left and turned the ball over on a no-look pass on their next possession. Kyle Lowry scored Toronto’s next five points and OG Anunoby tipped in a shot with 25.6 seconds left to tie the score at 100.

Lowry had the Raptors’ first seven points in overtime. Giving them a 107-102 lead with 2:22 remaining. However, the cushion wasn’t big enough.

The Pistons rallied and Andre Drummond made two free throws to put them ahead 109-107 with 46.1 seconds left. Lowry missed a contested layup with seven seconds left and Detroit made free throws to seal the win.

Lowry scored a season-high 35 points. While Pascal Siakam had 21 points.

Jackson scored 19 points and Drummond added 15 points and 17 rebounds.

Detroit led by 13 points in the opening quarter and didn’t trail until Marc Gasol made a 3-pointer with 8-plus minutes left in the third.

The go-ahead shot came shortly after Toronto got fired up because Siakam and Danny Green were called for technical fouls for arguing with officials. Detroit’s Zaza Pachulia was ejected after getting called for two technical fouls for screaming at officials and he will likely be disciplined by the NBA for bumping a referee.

This one did not feel like a run-of-the-mill early-March NBA game. The Raptors even had a five-point lead with 2:22 to go before the game flipped again. This time and, for a final time, in Detroit’s favour.

“Well, they hit one corner three and then everything else was (free throws). I guess that’s it,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said, alluding to a really poorly officiated game that had both teams at times livid with the inconsistency of calls.

“We didn’t do a good enough job of defending without fouling,” Nurse said. “I thought we took it to the basket strong. Kyle had one. Pascal took one and had a (chance at a) dunk. Marc (Gasol) had another chance as well. I don’t know. It was a good game. It was going to go, either way. We had our chance and we didn’t take it. Then they had their chance.”

Nurse was trying to be careful not to criticize officials and toed that line rather precariously.

“I just thought it was strange,” Nurse said. “We were up guarding and all of a sudden the whistle would blow. Nothing was even happening up there. Pivot and boom. There’s not much you can do. I guess you just try to play through that stuff.”

Jeremy Lin started in Leonard’s place and was 0 for 8 and scored only one point. Meanwhile, Leonard went through a workout on the court before the game and studied previous games on a laptop in a front-row seat.

Luke Kennard became the 10th player in franchise history to make at least five 3-pointers in two straight games and finished with 19 points. Reggie Bullock, who now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, made the winning shot as time expired in November when Detroit won at Toronto 106-104 as Dwane Casey made an emotional return to face his former team.

The Raptors host Houston next on Tuesday night.

Peace,

Burke

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