Toronto Raptors

Eight thoughts as Raptors comeback falls short vs. Pistons, despite big night from Pascal Siakam

Coming off a thrilling win over the Philadelphia 76ers two days prior, the Toronto Raptors fell short against the Detroit Pistons, going down 127-121 at Scotiabank Arena, marking their fourth loss in five games (7-7).

Missing Fred VanVleet and Precious Achiuwa, the Raptors got plenty of production from their wings with Pascal Siakam scoring a team-high 25 points, while Gary Trent Jr. added 23.

The Pistons, who were 1-5 on the road before tonight's win, were led by 24 points from Jerami Grant, one of seven players to finish in double figures on the night.

For more on this entertaining contest, we have you covered with some thoughts below.

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1. Rookie showdown

There was plenty of excitement heading into this game, in what would be the first meeting of the season between former high school teammates, No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes and No.1 overall pick Cade Cunningham.

Barnes had the better of Cunningham in the first half, but the Pistons guard came to life down the stretch, scoring eight of his 10 points in the final frame, including a pair of clutch buckets in the final 2:14.

He mixed up OG Anunoby for the layup to put the Pistons up by five with 1:22 on the clock, halting the Raptors' late-game run.

Cunningham finished with 10 points, four assists, three rebounds, one steal and a block on 4-of-10 shooting and 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, while Barnes recorded 11 points six rebounds and four assists on an efficient 3-of-4 shooting.

2. Gary Trent Jr. finding his groove

Without Fred VanVleet in the lineup, the Raptors needed an offensive punch and that came in the form of Gary Trent Jr., who alongside Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, kept the Raptors in the game through the first half.

Trent Jr. who has now scored 20+ points in back-to-back games, scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half on 6-of-8 from the field and 4-of-5 from deep. He added three assists, two rebounds and three steals on the night.

The 22-year-old looks increasingly comfortable looking for his own shot out of the pick-and-roll and continues to be one of the Raptors best defenders on the perimeter.

3. Free throws prove costly

Paractice your free throws kids!

In a game decided by six points, the Raptors left far too many points at the free throw line, going 20-of-31 (64.5 percent) to Detroit's 26-of-30 (86.7 percent).

Pascal Siakam alone missed four of his nine attempts.

The Raptors somewhat made up for their misgivings at the free throw line, with another strong defensive performance, making the Pistons pay for their turnovers. They forced 14 turnovers and turned them into 25 points, but it wasn't enough.

4. Jerami Grant takes over

The Pistons' marquee man stepped up down the stretch, scoring 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter on 5-of-8 shooting.

As Pascal Siakam tried to will the Raptors back into the contest, the Pistons drilled five consecutive 3-pointers, two coming from Grant as they held off the mini-comeback to go up 117-106.

5. Siakam's best game of the season

In his third game of the season, Pascal Siakam looked back to his best with a stat-stuffing performance, recording 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

He was somewhat limited in the second half after picking up his fourth foul with 9:25 remaining in the third, but he made his presence felt down the stretch with some timely plays, soaring in for an offensive rebound and putback to cut it to seven points with 3:58 remaining.

He then converted and and-1 play to cut it to three with 2:04 on the clock.

Siakam still managed 34 minutes on the night after averaging 27.5 minutes over his first two games as he eases his way back into the lineup after unergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

6. Dalano Banton is too much fun

Coming off a stint in the G League, Banton continues to deliver the excitement for the Raptors.

In 19 minutes on court, the rookie gave the Raptors a spark off the bench with 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal - which led to this breakaway jam, much to the delight of the Toronto home fans.

"He played great," Nurse said of Banton's 30-point outing in the G League yesterday.

"I think that we always had him in our plans to play some with the 905. He's carved out a role on this team maybe faster than anyone expected. It was a little bit of a tricky situation, playing four in four. He wanted to play. There were some things he wanted to work on. For the big picture, it's a good move for him and for his team."

7. Chris Boucher adds to injury woes

Already without Fred VanVleet (groin) and Precious Achiuwa (shoulder), Raptors big man Chris Boucher added to their injury list, exiting the game in the fourth quarter with a sore lower back.

8. What's next?

The Raptors will travel to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers on Monday, Nov. 15, their first game of a six-game road trip.

See you then!

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