Toronto Raptors

Detroit Pistons dismantle Toronto Raptors as another losing streak builds

The Detroit Pistons have the Toronto Raptors' number, it's as simple as that.

The Pistons completed the season-series sweep, routing the Raptors 118-104 with an all-around dominating performance to extend Toronto's losing streak to three.

With the loss, the Raptors fall 11 games below .500 with an 18-29 record, sliding further away from play-in tournament territory at 2.5 games back from the Chicago Bulls and the No. 10 spot in the East.

If you missed any of the action, we have you covered with some thoughts below.

1. Kyle Lowry's return

Lowry missed Sunday's contest against the Portland Trail Blazers with a foot injury and was a last-minute decision to play in this one. According to TSN's Josh Lewenberg, head coach Nick Nurse said that the injury is related to the toe infection that caused Lowry to miss some time earlier this season.

It was a sluggish showing from Lowry as a result, who had 10 points, two assists, one rebound and one steal while shooting 3-for-8 from the field and 0-for-3 from 3. He only played 24 minutes in the contest due to the nature of the game, and although +/- is far from perfect, Lowry finished with a team-worst minus-23.

2. Bench scoring makes the difference

Bench scoring has been a major issue for the Raptors all season. According to hoopstats, Toronto entered this contest averaging just 32.0 bench points per game - the fifth-worst mark in the NBA. For comparison, the Pistons entered this contest averaging 41.3 bench points per game, the second-best mark in the NBA.

Those numbers proved to be relevant in this game, as Detroit's bench outscored Toronto's 65-24 to decide the outcome.

The Pistons had three different bench players score in double figures, led by Hamidou Diallo's impressive showing of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Canadian Cory Joseph added 17 points, rookie centre Isaiah Stewart had 14 points and Frank Jackson tallied 12 points during the waning moments of the game.

No Raptors reserve notched double figures scoring, with Rodney Hood's seven points leading the bench.

3. Saddiq Bey strikes again against Toronto

The last time the Raptors and Pistons met, rookie forward Bey had one of the best games of his young career. Going for 28 points and a career-high-tying 12 rebounds while shooting 6-for-10 from 3-point range, the No. 19 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft made his presence felt.

He had a similar impact in this one, even if his numbers didn't quite line up to that performance.

Bey was tied for Detroit's leading scorer, going for 19 points on a super-efficient 5-for-7 (71.4%) from 3-point range.

He has now knocked down 100 3-pointers this season, which leads his entire rookie class.

4. Gary Trent Jr.'s best game yet

The newly acquired sharpshooter struggled to find the mark from 3-point range in his first two games with the Raptors. Going 1-for-10 in his first two games with Toronto, Trent Jr. was due to find his rhythm.

The 22-year-old finally got comfortable in this one, making his first two 3-point attempts of the game.

He would finish with a balanced stat line of 15 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals while shooting 3-for-7 from 3-point range. His assist on a corner 3 to OG Anunoby may have been the single best moment of the game for the Raptors.

5. Pistons sweep season-series for second time under former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey

In Casey's first year at the helm in Detroit, his Pistons swept the season-series against his former team with a perfect 3-0 record. The Raptors did go on to win the NBA title that season, so it all worked out, but Detroit clearly has an edge over Toronto.

For the second time in three seasons, Casey and the Pistons have swept the season-series against the Raptors, going 3-0 against his former team yet again this season.

Coincidence? I think not.

6. Second night of back-to-back struggles continue

The Raptors have not faired well on the second night of back-to-backs this season. This was Toronto's ninth set of back-to-backs so far, and they own an ugly 1-8 record on the second night of those consecutive games.

The Raptors only win on the second night of a back-to-back came back on Feb. 19 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

They have five more sets of back-to-backs remaining this season.

7. What's next?

The Raptors will have one day off before facing off against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. The Pistons will also retake the floor on Wednesday, facing off against the Portland Trail Blazers.

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