Auburn Hills — There was likely to be a traffic jam on the Queen's Highway headed toward Toronto as Raptors fans celebrated a 110-100 victory Friday night over the Pistons at the Palace, aka Air Canada Centre West.
But the real hero of this game was Pistons center Andre Drummond, who grew tired of watching the Raptors dunk at will on his team to the tune of 60 points in the paint.
Drummond drew a flagrant foul with 6:42 remaining when he leveled Raptors forward James Johnson — who was driving toward the basket on a pick-and-roll — with an elbow. A scuffle between several players ensued.
It was the most impactful Pistons play during another dreary evening. Greg Monroe and Drummond received technical fouls along with the Raptors Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes.
"On a play like that it can go either way," Drummond said. "It was a hard foul. He got a dunk the play before and he was feeling good. I was trying to protect the paint.
"It turned out to be a hard foul and one thing led to another. Emotions were high during the game. It happens. It is basketball. There were no hard feelings. I have nothing against him. I shook his hand after the game."
But Johnson wasn't in a happy mood afterward and was seen lurking near the court where the Pistons exit and near the loading dock where the teams exit. He was escorted away by teammates.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy wanted to be neutral on the matter but said, "He (Drummond) was not going to let the ball get to the rim again."
The Raptors enjoyed a party at the Pistons' expense, symbolizing where this team is as a franchise and a basketball team. If this does not wake up the slumbering Pistons, nothing will.
Drummond and the Pistons were frustrated because it seemed like a road game and they could not stop Toronto (21-6), which still has the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Pistons (5-22) own the league's third-worst record, just ahead of the New York Knicks (5-23) and the Philadelphia 76ers (2-22).
Brandon Jennings led the Pistons with 22 points and eight assists, Monroe added 17 points and seven rebounds and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in 18.
The Raptors placed six players in double figures, led by Jonas Valanciunas (17 points), Lou Williams and Kyle Lowry (15 points) and James Johnson with 12.
Raptor fans screamed "We the North" and "MVP" every time Lowry (also seven assists) stood at the free throw line. It was the Pistons' 12th straight home loss, although it often sounded like a road game. The Raptors faithful came armed with Canadian flags. The Raptors came armed with a stifling defense that shut the Pistons down to begin the second half.
Maybe Chicago and Cleveland fans should take note. Detroit is a short drive away and there are plenty of seats available to come celebrate victories.
"We got to do a better job to get our fans out here," Drummond said. "It is simple as that."
It was an embarrassing night for an organization that has seen its fan base dwindle as the losses mount.
While Raptor fans chanted "Let's go, Raptors," a lone Piston fan complained, "Y'all going to let them come in and take over our stadium. This is a shame."