TORONTO – OG Anunoby’s return to the Toronto Raptors lineup contributed to a record-breaking day against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
With Anunoby back after a three-game absence, the Raptors (6-7) defeated the Pistons (2-12) with a 142-113 victory, setting a franchise record with 44 team assists and producing a season record. total points in the process.
Pascal Siakam led the way for Toronto with 23 points, but Anunoby’s peaceful presence helped the Raptors become the latest team to beat the Pistons, who have lost 11 in a row.
Anunoby scored nine points in 27 minutes as the Raptors snapped a two-game skid and ended a four-game homestand with a 2-2 record before a crowd of 19,182 at Scotiabank Arena.
“Everything is fine. He’s getting better every day,” Anunoby, 26, said of his injury. He hurt his finger in an undisclosed incident and required five stitches to repair it.
“It was gushing blood,” Anunoby revealed.
He practiced last week doing left-handed-only drills at the suggestion of Toronto head coach Darko Rajakovic.
“I thought I discovered something,” Anunoby said. “I loved it.”
The Raptors’ previous best assist mark was 40 against the Charlotte Hornets on November 18, 2019.
His point total surpassed a 130-11 home win against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 1. The 142 points against the Pistons were only the fifth time in franchise history that the Raptors scored 140 or more.
The Raptors also extended their streak of 25 assists or more to nine games, one shy of the club record set from Jan. 8-28, 2020.
“I think today was one of those games where the ball was on the line for us,” Raptors center Jakob Poeltl said. “We saw it in the numbers, the attendance figures were quite high and it wasn’t just one person with 20 assists. It was the whole team.
“Everyone shared the ball. Everyone moved well, so that way you created a lot of easy shots, and we found a lot of ways to break down their defense. It feels like we made the right read for most of that game.”
In addition to Siakam’s team-leading total, Poeltl posted a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Scottie Barnes and Dennis Schroder each added 17 points.
Stanley Umude led the way for Detroit with 19 points.
With the game out of reach from the start, the Raptors bench received plenty of playing time. Gary Trent Jr. scored 18 points, Chris Boucher added 14 and Precious Achiuwa added a vital 12.
Toronto overcame a first-quarter shooting slump when Achiuwa came off the bench to score 10 points in seven minutes late in the first quarter and early in the second.
Being trending now
The Raptors opened a 21-point lead early in the second quarter when Achiuwa and Barnes hit consecutive 3-pointers at the 2:01 and 2:27 marks, respectively.
“I hope he does an even better job,” Rajakovic said of Achiuwa. “I think he has a lot of potential, a lot of talent and I’m tough on him.
“We talk every day about what I want from him, what this team needs from him, what he is capable of giving us.”
The Raptors led 32-20 after the first quarter, 69-45 at halftime and 104-72 after three quarters.
Jonathan David and his teammates from the Canadian men’s soccer team attended the Raptors game. On Tuesday, they will host Jamaica at BMO Field in the second leg of the CONCACAF National League quarterfinals.
Canada defeated Jamaica 2-1 on Saturday.
Pistons first-year head coach Monty Williams considers Raptors first-year head coach Rajakovic a good friend, even though the latter only spent the season on Williams’ staff with the Phoenix Suns 2019-20.
Williams revealed a little about Rajakovic’s lifestyle.
“I haven’t met anyone yet who can consume that much coffee in one day,” Williams said. “Sweat coffee.”
UNTIL NEXT TIME
The Raptors visit the Orlando Magic (8-5) on Tuesday and the Indiana Pacers (7-5) on Wednesday before returning home to host the Chicago Bulls (5-9) on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2023.
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