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DeRozan scores 23 as Raptors beat Pistons 97-91

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DeRozan scores 23 as Raptors beat Pistons 97-91

TORONTO (AP) DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Alan Anderson scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and the Toronto Raptors beat the Detroit Pistons 97-91 Wednesday night, extending their winning streak to four games.

Jose Calderon had 17 assists, one shy of his season high, and Jonas Valanciunas scored 12 points for the Raptors, who last won four straight from Nov. 17-24, 2010.

Ed Davis added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who had lost six of their previous seven meetings with the Pistons.

As he did in Tuesday's road win at Cleveland, Anderson helped seal it for Toronto with a trio of 3-pointers in the final quarter.

Greg Monroe scored a career-high 35 points to go with 10 rebounds and Rodney Stuckey had 13 for the Pistons, who lost their sixth straight and dropped to 2-13 on the road.

Detroit missed 12 of its 30 free throws, with rookie center Andre Drummond going 2 for 7 and Stuckey hitting only two of his five attempts.

Anderson made one of three from the line to begin the fourth then added a 3-pointer on Toronto's next possession. Just over five minutes later he connected again, making 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Raptors up 88-77 with 6:25 left.

Monroe scored four points as Detroit cut it to four with a 7-0 run over the next 3:30, but a 3 by Calderon made it 91-84 with 2:29 remaining.

DeRozan scored 10 points and Valanciunas had eight to give the Raptors a 27-23 lead after the first quarter.

Toronto led 49-43 with 1:02 left in the first half but Detroit knotted the score with a 6-0 run, including a tip-in by Kyle Singler at the buzzer, tying it 49-all at intermission.

Monroe had 14 points in the third, while DeRozan had 11 for the Raptors, who took a narrow 74-71 lead into the fourth.

NOTES: Stuckey returned after sitting out Monday's loss to the Clippers with back spasms. ... Detroit recalled G Kim English and F Khris Middleton from Fort Wayne of the NBA Development League. ... Calderon had a season-high 18 assists against Orlando on Nov. 18. His career best is 19, set twice. Calderon assisted on eight of Toronto's first 10 field goals and had nine assists in the first quarter alone. Toronto's record for assists in a single quarter is 11, set by Doug Christie.

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WATCH: Rui Hachimura punishing Spurs interior defense with dunk and two layups

WATCH: Rui Hachimura punishing Spurs interior defense with dunk and two layups

As Rui Hachimura continues to grow and take his lumps at the NBA level, one important point of development for the Wizards' rookie will be finishing through contact at the rim. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

On Wednesday night against the Spurs, Hachimura hit a nice hook shot over LaMarcus Aldridge and then finished through traffic after attacking a closeout a few plays later. He entered the game shooting nearly 70 percent at the rim, a major reason why he's one of the top-scoring rookies this season. 

Then at the end of the first half, Isaiah Thomas found Hachimura on a back-door cut for the easy slam. Well-timed cuts are a great source of points for young players. 

After the break, the ninth-overall pick flashed a little finesse at the rim for another pretty finish. 

His three-point shooting will have to improve at some point down the line and learning better positioning as a defender is something every rookie has to go through. 

Both of those skills can be improved in the practice gym or in the film room. Finishing at the basket through contact is learned by repetition in-game, so it's a promising sign to see Hachimura take the ball to the rim. 

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When Gregg Popovich thinks the NBA will be ready for a female head coach

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When Gregg Popovich thinks the NBA will be ready for a female head coach

WASHINGTON -- The Wizards hosting the Spurs on Wednesday night brought together two of the 11 NBA teams that currently employ a female assistant coach. The Wizards have Kristi Toliver on their bench and the Spurs have Becky Hammon.

That confluence prompted a question to San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich on the future of women in the NBA coaching ranks and whether a head coaching hire could happen sometime soon. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

Though it has been five years since he hired Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in league history, Popovich is uncertain on exactly when a team will make the leap to hiring a woman to run their operation.

"That depends on people and organizations," he said. 

"It's a process and it doesn't happen quickly. But I think the more women there are [in the game] and as it becomes more commonplace and more the rule, it will then depend on an organization realizing there are women that can do this. Every woman can't, every man can't. But the point is there gotta be enough to choose from and it's gotta be pretty commonplace before I think somebody's gonna pull the trigger."

Popovich believes it will happen, he's just not sure when. The Wizards hiring Toliver last summer was another step in that direction and he believes she and others are showing the basketball world what they are capable of.

"There's no difference between a woman who knows the game and a man who knows the game. It's just another prejudice that probably has to be overcome just like a lot of other prejudices in the world have become less and less as people paid attention to them," Popovich said.

Hammon made the news over the weekend when Popovich was ejected from the Spurs' loss to the Kings and a committee of assistants coached the rest of the game. Popovich was asked why he didn't appoint Hammon to serve in the role for the rest of the game and he told reporters he was "not here to make history." 

Still, though there has never been a female head coach in any of the four major U.S. sports, it seems like the NBA is by far the closest with people like Hammon and Tolliver already knocking on the door.

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