Kyle Lowry has returned from wrist surgery after missing 21 games, and he didn't wait around to lift the Toronto Raptors.
Jonas Valanciunas had 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Toronto, and Cory Joseph added 15, but it was Lowry who made the difference. The Pistons are now sitting 2.5 games back of the final playoff spot in the East Conference. Following Wednesday's win, the Raptors had Thursday off and now get set to play host to Miami on Friday night, Toronto's final home game of the regular season, before closing out the year with a Sunday matinee in NY against the Knicks and Wednesday night in Cleveland. "We ended up playing well in the fourth quarter, but we can't live that way and expect to go anywhere".
The Raptors came all the way back from a 20-point hole when DeRozan finally made a basket with 2:48 to tie it, 95-95, DeRozan knotting it all up again at 97-97. In the end, the Pistons surrendered a 12-point lead with just more than six minutes to play and lost 105-102. We certainly don't want our guys to do it, we'd hold the ball and the whole thing, " Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said.
"I wouldn't have played if I had any fear, " said Lowry, who wore a wrist band he says his wife gave him, evoking the famous words any husband would make.
Lowry said earlier this week that he wouldn't come back and be anxious about reinjuring the wrist. We pretty much have to go undefeated, and we need a couple of teams to lose three more games.
Caldwell-Pope missed a contested three-pointer, but Andre Drummond grabbed the offensive rebound and threw it to Tobias Harris in the corner at the three-point line.
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Detroit started the game without Caldwell-Pope (family reasons), while starting point guard Reggie Jackson remains sidelined to rest a bad knee.
The numbers are ugly and yet Toronto is two wins away from its second consecutive 50-win season, and wrapping up the No. 3 seed. "I'll talk about the players who played, but he wasn't even on the floor". Barring an improbable run into the postseason, the arena's final game will be Monday against the Washington Wizards.
The officials had to change the game ball early in the second quarter, when an errant Toronto pass sent it sailing into a courtside fan's beverage. He joined the Pistons' bench late in the first half and started the second half.
After going up, 48-28, in the second quarter, the Pistons allowed the Raptors to close on an 18-8 run to cut the lead in half. Caldwell-Pope took his regular rotation spot in the second half, but only scored two points. Their final home game of the season is tomorrow night, a possible playoff preview against the Miami Heat.
Pistons: Visit the Houston Rockets on Friday night.