'Dangerous' Pascal Siakam, turnovers too much for Pistons to overcome
Toronto — There was no last-second shot and no victory celebration for the Pistons this time.
Last season, in coach Dwane Casey’s first trip back to play against his former team, the Pistons prevailed on a game-winner in the final seconds. The Raptors made sure it wouldn’t be close in the first meeting this season.
There was no answer to defend Pascal Siakam, who had 19 of his 30 points in the decisive third quarter to push the Raptors to a 125-113 victory over the Pistons on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena.
The Pistons tried to make a run early in the fourth quarter, but the Raptors' reserves put the game away with a 10-2 run in the first 3:25.
Andre Drummond had 21 points and 22 rebounds, Langston Galloway scored 17, Derrick Rose had 16 points and 10 assists and Markieff Morris added 16 points for the Pistons (2-3), who next face the Chicago Bulls on Friday.
“Our individual defense was lacking. Any time you let a team shoot 59 percent — and I don’t care if it was Pascal or whoever was out there — we weren’t guarding them,” Casey said. “On top of that, you turn it over 20 times for 30 points. That’s the ball game.
“Pascal had a heck of a night and they’re an offensive machine. They’re playing at a high level with a lot of confidence. With that said, you have to go out and compete and not wait to get punched in the mouth.”
The Pistons were plagued by turnovers again, committing 20, and the Raptors (4-1) took advantage by scoring 29 points off the miscues. It’s been a bugaboo all season for the Pistons, but Wednesday was Exhibit A of how detrimental they can be.
It could have been a case of trying to do too much, but the turnovers made it an uphill climb.
"Guys are trying to help the team in any way possible," Galloway said. "Guys are trying to make the right play but they’re moving so fast they stumble over and try to find a way to get out of situations."
The Pistons were within 64-59 early in the third quarter, but Kyle Lowry (20 points, eight assists) hit a 3-pointer and Marc Gasol scored on a three-point play. Lowry scored on another drive to push the lead to 13 at the 10:17 mark.
After a 3-pointer by Tim Frazier, Siakam scored 10 straight points, starting and ending with 3-pointers. Galloway hit a 3-pointer and was fouled on a 3-pointer — making all three free throws — to trim the lead to 89-75 with 2:17 left in the period.
Siakam finished the quarter with the Raptors' final nine points and they led, 101-85, heading into the fourth quarter.
"He was knocking down shots and when you knock down shots, you draw the defense out a little more and they get to the paint a little more," Galloway. "He can score at all three levels and that’s what makes him dangerous."
Galloway started with three more free throws, but the Raptors had another 9-2 run to push the lead to 21.
Here are some observations from the Pistons’ loss:
► Luke Kennard started for the second straight game and struggled offensively, going 1-for-6 from the field, including 1-of-4 on 3-pointers. He hasn’t found a good rhythm since joining the starting lineup and although Casey said it's a stopgap measure until Blake Griffin or Reggie Jackson returns, it has to be a major concern.
► Rose bounced back from his worst game of the season with his signature speed and shotmaking, going 7-of-12 from the field with a season-high 10 assists. He’s dominating the mid-range game and is finding nooks in the defense to get his shots off or find open teammates.
► Christian Wood (nine points) had his hands full trying to guard Siakam, but the bigger issue was giving Siakam too much space to operate and get off easy shots. Casey has lamented Wood’s defensive lapses but against one of the improving players in the league, it was painfully evident.
► Morris had his best game as a Piston, with a pair of 3-pointers and some good inside play. He’s been solid all season starting in Griffin's place, but he’s looking to grow into the minutes and play well alongside Drummond.
► Svi Mykhailiuk played in the last nine minutes of the game and had nine points — all on 3-pointers — and looked impressive. He’s battling for playing time and made a case for himself with his ability to hit open shots when given the opportunity.