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Bad shot dooms Toronto Raptors against Detroit Pistons, NBA’s worst

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The combination of a tough team-wide shooting night and an opponent still angry from a nasty beating was too much for the Toronto Raptors to overcome.

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The Raptors hovered around the 30% shooting mark all night while host Detroit Pistons looked nothing like the team that was blown 46 points by the Chicago Bulls three nights earlier and those two factors were more than enough to tip this one in Detroit’s favor. .

Head coach Nick Nurse didn’t even attempt to explain a team that looked so good in the previous game, then came out inexplicably flat despite being a rested group.

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“I don’t know,” said the nurse. “We are back on the road again and have to react to be ready for the start. And needing lifts when the guys aren’t ready on the bench and we were just looking for answers most of the night and didn’t seem to get any.

The Pistons were in control for most of the first three quarters and only a surge from the Raptors in the fourth made it even more respectable as Detroit held on for a 103-87 victory.

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Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby, the guys who are supposed to lead this offense, combined for 61 points.

The remaining eight players who saw the field for the Raptors combined for just 22 points and that just wasn’t enough.

But no one outside of Chris Boucher, who had 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, even got close to 50% shooting from the field on the night.

Scottie Barnes, who is coming back from a knee injury and just returned from a stint in league health and safety protocols that put him out of action for about a week, is struggling to find his way back .

“Well, it’s probably that he had such a good rhythm in his fight against COVID and he’s probably getting through it,” Nurse said. “I think we have one or two guys who probably still do that. I also talked about it with Gary. They were really rolling in there and it’s gonna take, you know, Yuta is another one. It’s going to take a bit of play to feel that stuff for these guys to get their legs back under them and just the speed of the game and stuff like that.

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Canadian national team member Trey Lyles came off the bench for the Pistons and gave them 21 points and seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks to lead Detroit.

VanVleet led Toronto with 24 points and 10 assists, but was just 6 for 21 on a tough shooting night. Pascal Siakam also had 21 and 12 rebounds in a losing cause.

A BIG LOSS EARLY

It happened relatively early and had a lasting effect on the Raptors for the rest of the game.

Khem Birch remained glued to Pistons wonderkid Cade Cunningham as he navigated the paint under the basket from side to side. As he turned for the reverse layup, his elbow came up and caught Birch flush with the nose.

The blood started and Birch’s night ended as he returned to the locker room for x-rays.

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The worst-case scenario unfolded there when the Montreal native learned he had broken his nose. He was on a flight back to Toronto after the game. There was no immediate word on how long he would be out.

Birch isn’t one of the big three or even the big four Raptors, but he’s instrumental in what they do and his absence was felt last night and will be felt until he returns.

Gone are the screens and one of VanVleet’s comfortable pick and roll partners. And much of the Raptors offense that Birch helps set up is gone.

“It’s definitely a big part of what we do,” head coach Nurse said of Birch’s strong fundamental skills. “Somehow the offense keeps moving. It is a reliable filter. He is also quite alert when there is play for him. He also gets his share of offensive rebounds or at least some tips to keep the ball alive. He kind of takes what happens to him. It’s nice to have one of those guys there who can do the other things on offense to get us rolling.

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Well, Birch left four minutes into the game and the Raptors offense was kind of dead with that start.

Without Birch relishing the physical game and doing the little things that move the offense forward, the Raptors shot a dismal 28% from the field in the first half and went down a 13-point deficit at the end of the day. halftime because of it.

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CASEY ALWAYS HAS CONNECTIONS

Dwane Casey is in his fourth season with Detroit, but the former Raptors head coach doesn’t need to go too deep into memory banks when asked about the current Raptors crop that has appeared under his direction.

Casey was asked about VanVleet and his All-Star chances and, unsurprisingly, gave his former player a glowing endorsement.

“He became Kyle Lowry,” Casey said, giving VanVleet the highest compliment a Toronto point guard of this generation could receive. “He’s a Kyle clone. Same body type, same wise leadership. I’m proud of him, where he comes from, where he is, it’s a huge step forward what he did, but he was like that. “He was a winner in middle school, high school,” Casey said. “And then when he first came into training camp, and we’re trying to decide whether to keep them or not. He showed it then, in training camp. So he deserved everything that he wins and what he does and we just hope it’s not what you know tonight but he should be a star.

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