Rap­tors fall apart late in fourth quar­ter in 102-101 loss to Pis­tons

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY LORI EWING

Ken­tavi­ous Cald­well-Pope scored 21 points, in­clud­ing a game-win­ning three-pointer with 13.2 sec­onds left to lift the Detroit Pis­tons over the Toronto Rap­tors 102-101 on Sun­day.

DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points for the Rap­tors (32-23), who coughed up a dou­ble-digit lead in the game’s fi­nal min­utes.

Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas added 17 points and nine re­bounds as the Rap­tors lost for the 10th time in their last 14 games. DeMarre Car­roll and Kyle Lowry added 15 points apiece.

To­bias Har­ris topped Detroit (26-29) with 24 points.

In the first meet­ing be­tween the two teams since open­ing night, and Toronto’s first game in four days, the Rap­tors raced out to the early lead and were up by as many as 16 points in the third quar­ter in front of an Air Canada Cen­tre ca­pac­ity crowd of 19,800.

The Rap­tors took an 82-66 ad­van­tage into the fourth quar­ter and looked des­tined for an easy vic­tory. But the Pis­tons whit­tled away at the gap, and when Ish Smith scored on a float­ing jumper with five min­utes to play, it pulled Detroit to within just five points.

An­dre Drum­mond scored on a put-back lay-up a minute later, and it was a three-point game. The Rap­tors were up by five points with 1:23 to play, but Cald­well-Pope scored on back-to-back bas­kets — his sec­ond was a three-pointer taken right in front of the Rap­tors’ bench — that gave Detroit a 102-101 lead with 13 sec­onds to play.

DeRozan’s shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim, much to the dis­may of the dis­grun­tled crowd.

Pa­trick Pat­ter­son — a “glue guy” for Toronto, ac­cord­ing to coach Dwane Casey — sat out the game with a sore left knee, mak­ing it 14 of the last 23 games he’s missed.

The Rap­tors were play­ing for the first time since their dis­ap­point­ing 112-109 loss in Min­nesota on Wed­nes­day, and Casey said the team made good use of the pre­cious three days off.

“I can see the mis­takes mount­ing and mount­ing. There’s only so much video you can watch or walk­throughs you can go through un­til you get those habits, rep­e­ti­tions phys­i­cally, and get the sweat and full speed and game speed go­ing through it,” Casey said. “We got some good work in, some spe­cific work where we could go up and down the court, which you can’t do.

“These next three games are go­ing to be huge for us as far as mo­men­tum and as far as the play­off race is con­cerned,” Casey added.

The Rap­tors, who went into Sun­day’s game fourth in the east and a half game be­hind Wash­ing­ton, face Chicago on Tues­day, then Char­lotte on Wed­nes­day be­fore the nine­day break be­tween games for NBA all-star week­end. Chicago, Detroit and Char­lotte sit sev­enth, eighth and ninth in the Eastern Con­fer­ence, re­spec­tively.

The Rap­tors and Pis­tons paced each other vir­tu­ally bas­ket for bas­ket through a first quar­ter that saw nei­ther team lead by more than four points. DeRozan paced the Rap­tors with 10 points, and Toronto took a 27-25 ad­van­tage into the sec­ond quar­ter.

A three-pointer by Car­roll with 2:39 left in the half was the punc­tu­a­tion mark on a 19-2 run that gave Toronto a 12-point lead. They went into the half­time break up 51-45.

Lowry drilled a three early in the third that kick-started a 14-2 Rap­tors run that gave them a 16-point lead, their big­gest of the game to that point.

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Toronto Rap­tors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) drives to the hoop against Detroit Pis­tons for­ward To­bias Har­ris (34) dur­ing sec­ond half NBA bas­ket­ball ac­tion in Toronto on Sun­day.

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