Toronto Raptors avoid scare and defeat the Detroit Pistons 119-118

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Sunday, February 12, 2023

In typical Toronto Raptors fashion, they found themselves battling in a down-to-the-wire game, in which they came out as the victors, defeating the Detroit Pistons 119-118. Continuing their stellar offensive play, however, there isn't much to be praised regarding their defensive output two games into their homestand. Regardless, a win is a win and this marks their first victory since trading for Jakob Poeltl.

Toronto was undermanned not just roster-wise but also in the personnel area as Nick Nurse was absent due to personal reasons. Filling in the mantle, Adrian Griffin, was the interim head coach for this game. With no Gary Trent Jr. in the lineup, Jakob Poeltl made his first start in his new stint as a Toronto Raptor.

From the get-go, this was a close game between both parties. Fred VanVleet's offensive productivity was near the best it's been all season as he seemed to have a great feel from the opening tip. The former All-Star finished with 35 points and eight assists while knocking down six three-pointers.

Although this team gave up 118 points to the 14th-seeded Detroit Pistons when Poeltl was on the court the defence this team displayed was quite great. In his limited 25 minutes, the Austrian big man was a team-high +11 in the game. His impact was far greater than what shows forth in the stat sheet as he finished with just six points and five rebounds.

Although Toronto showed glimpses of great defensive potential, they were unable to contain the bench of the Pistons. Alec Burks got off to a hot start and carried that throughout the entirety of the game finishing with 21 points and was joined by Hamidou Diallo who contributed 18 points himself.

Combining the play of those two bench players with Bojan Bogdanovic, who led the team with 33 points, Detroit had a recipe for success. VanVleet was joined by Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes in the scoring department really carrying the offensive load for the Raptors, scoring 28 points and 20 points respectively.

Toronto was able to win the rebound battle 40-32 and forced 16 turnovers while Raptors only committed eight turnovers themselves. There was just enough effort from Toronto to pull through and scrape away with this victory although it wasn't in a pleasant fashion.

The Toronto Raptors now improve to 27-31 on the season and will get ready for their next game, which is against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday at 7:30 PM ET.