Pistons edge Raptors, cripple chance to improve lottery odds

As the Pistons and Raptors struggled during the first quarter, I thought to myself, “This is like a preseason game.” Minutes later, one of the Raptors broadcasters described the game as having a “summer-league flow.”

Sadly, that was probably more apt.

I don’t know why the Pistons played so poorly in their 76-73 win over the Raptors – a game in which the Pistons shot 36.6 percent on all field goals, 13.3 percent on 3-pointers and 62.9 percent on free throws. It’s important to remember that they’re a bad team, and bad teams are prone to playing badly.

Did tanking play a part? I don’t think so. The Pistons de-activated Vernon Macklin, a young player who could use more NBA minutes, and Lawrence Frank really stuck with his reliable veterans.

Were the Raptors that good? No.

I don’t know whether this is relevant, but I keep going back to a recap I wrote after the Allen Iverson season:

Michael Curry made me feel stupid (which proves I’m not another NBA coach).

“I think Joe (Dumars) was madder than anybody else about us losing all those Sunday games, and usually that has something to do with what you were doing Saturday night,” Curry told the Detroit Free Press after the season.

I never made anything of the Pistons’ 4-12 record in Sunday games last year. It just seemed like coincidence.

Then Curry dropped the bomb, and it all made so much sense.

I felt duped. The team had quit, and I should’ve known better.

Most Valuable Player

DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan had 16 points, three assists and an impressive fastbreak block through three quarters. So, of course the tanking Ratpors benched him for the fourth quarter.

Defining moment

Greg Monroe blatantly goaltended an Alan Anderson shot with 22 seconds left and the Pistons up one – though the refs missed the violation. The difference? The game and several lottery combinations.

X-Factor

Brandon Knight and Ben Gordon, who scored 19 points each, playing well together. Earlier in the season, those two sharing a backcourt turned Detroit into Turnover City.

Tags: Ben Gordon Brandon Knight Greg Monroe

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