Raptors top Pistons for fourth straight win, Siakam scores 29
DETROIT — Pascal Siakam had 29 points and eight rebounds for the Toronto Raptors in their fourth straight win, a 95-91 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.
Gary Trent Jr. scored 19 points and Scottie Barnes added 12, all in the second half, as the Raptors won for the seventh time in eight games. Precious Achiuwa chipped in 10 points off the bench.
“We just continue to play together, try to minimize the mistakes and fight through everything,” said Siakam, who scored eight points in the final 3:20. “It’s not going to be perfect but as long as we’re together we’ll help each other on defense.”
The Raptors shot 37.5% from the field, made 22 of 34 free throw attempts and were outrebounded 62-46. They survived by holding Detroit to 40.4% shooting and committing only eight turnovers.
“We’re playing pretty solidly at the defensive end with some intensity and some disruptiveness,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said.
Detroit’s Marvin Bagley III piled up a season-high 21 points and 18 rebounds in his first game since fracturing his right hand on Jan. 2.
“I love the way he played,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “Rebounding-wise, he had 13 in the first half and that was huge. It was great to have him back.”
Isaiah Livers, Hamidou Diallo and Bojan Bogdanovic had 11 points apiece for the Pistons, who lost their fourth straight. James Wiseman added 10 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out, and Jaden Ivey had 10 points and 10 assists.
Both teams scored 22 points in the first and second quarters, but the Raptors finished the third quarter on a 9-1 run to take a 71-70 lead. Toronto extended it to eight points but the Pistons answered with an 8-0 spurt to tie it again.
“We didn’t shoot it very well, we didn’t finish very well, we didn’t shoot free throws very well but I liked how we played,” Nurse said. “We were getting (the ball) to where it should go about 90% of the possessions.”
Trent’s 3-pointer with 2:38 remaining gave the Raptors an 89-86 advantage. Ivey made two free throws in the final minute to pull Detroit within a point.
Bagley missed a shot in the lane that could have given Detroit the lead before Siakam made two free throws with 11 seconds left.
Bagley split free throws with 4.1 seconds left and Siakam clinched Toronto’s win with two more free throws.
“Our defense was solid and physical but we fouled way too much,” Casey said. “I liked our toughness and aggressiveness. Our defense has gotten much better but with that we still have to be able to score in today’s game.”
The Raptors can reach the .500 mark for the first time since early December with a win in Cleveland on Sunday.
“We had a lot of games we could have won and been in a different spot,” Siakam said. “We put ourselves in this situation. That happens in life and we’ve just got to continue to focus on the task ahead.”