Pistons, Raptors clash at The Palace
(Sports Network) - The Detroit Pistons had shown signs of turning things around following a slow start to the season.
That is, until their second-half performance on Wednesday.
The Pistons will try to shake off that woeful showing on Friday night as they battle the Toronto Raptors.
Having picked up a victory in two of three following an 0-8 start, the Pistons took a first-quarter lead over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday and still held the advantage coming out of halftime.
That's when the wheels fell off for Detroit, which missed its first 15 shots of the frame and did not score its first point of the second half until there was 2:15 left in the third. That allowed Orlando to net the first 21 points of the stanza and outscore Detroit 26-8 in the frame en route to handing the Pistons a 90-74 defeat.
"We had no energy to start (the second half)," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "It was like we had to call timeout before our guys started the second half. There was a void of the necessary energy to play the game."
Tayshaun Prince had 10 points and a season-high eight rebounds, while Greg Monroe led all players with 19 points. Only four of those came in the second half and he also ended with eight boards.
Still, over his last four games, Monroe is averaging 20.3 points and 11.5 rebounds a night and he should be the focus of Toronto's defenders in this one.
The Raptors haven't gotten their season off to the best of starts either as they carry a two-game slide into tonight's meeting and have dropped seven of their last nine.
Toronto had some chances to steal a win at the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, but came up short on several chances in the final seconds in a 98-97 defeat. Both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry had shots blocked on the final possession and Andrea Bargnani's attempt from 18 feet out at the horn fell short.
"We have to make our own breaks," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "I thought we shot ourselves in the foot in the beginning of the fourth quarter as far as turnovers. When you turn the ball over, they score layups."
Bargnani had a game-high 25 points and Lowry added 21 to the defeat.
Jonas Valanciunas contributed 16 points and 10 boards in the setback, his third double-double of the season. That made him just the second Raptors rookie to collect three or more double-doubles through the first 15 games, joining Damon Stoudamire, who had seven in that span in the 1995-96 campaign. Valanciunas still has three more games to add to that total.
The Raptors have lost two straight and five of their last six overall encounters with the Pistons and have dropped three in a row and 14 of their previous 17 trips to Detroit.
11/23 10:53:39 ET