Detroit Pistons trample Toronto Raptors, 103-87, for fifth win of 2022

Since the beginning of the new year, the Detroit Pistons have been greatly improved. In the space of two weeks, they’ve defeated two competing teams, two rebuild squads and, on Friday, a team that was in the driver’s seat of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament race.

The Pistons (10-31) led the Toronto Raptors for most of the 48 minutes, beating them 103-87 at Little Caesars Arena. It was their biggest win this season and their fifth win in eight games – doubling their overall wins at the start of calendar 2022.

Trey Lyles was one of Detroit’s leaders in minutes on Friday as Isaiah Stewart faced vicious troubles. Lyles delivered one of his best performances of the season, leading the Pistons with 21 points and notching seven rebounds. Hamidou Diallo had 18 points, 10 of which came from dunks, and Cade Cunningham added 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Pascal Siakam (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Fred VanVleet (23 points, 10 assists) led Toronto.

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The Pistons led by double digits for most of the second half despite fighting from the outside. Detroit made just eight of his 27 3-point attempts, but made up for it by shooting 46.9% overall, including 50 points in the color.

A 3-pointer from Josh Jackson extended Detroit’s lead to 20, 86-66 early in the fourth quarter. The Raptors managed to make things interesting towards the end, using a 17-5 run to narrow the gap to 8 points on VanVleets 3 with 3:39 time remaining. But a dagger layup by Hayes and 3 by Cunningham sealed the win.

Hayes attacks, has all-around play

Hayes takes very few of his shots at the edge. According to Cleaning The Glass, only 20% of his shots this season have been in that range, one of the lowest rates among guards. But Hayes attacked the rim more aggressively this week, and it paid off for him.

He made two of his five shot attempts, and both were in the paint. He found an open lane for a rare dunk in the third quarter and helped end the game in the end, splitting a doubles team and finishing a layup through the Raptors’ defense. Hayes also created a dunk for Jackson, attacking lane and hitting him while cutting after collapsing defenses.

Detroit Pistons guard Hamidou Diallo dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Friday, January 14, 2022, in Detroit.

Hayes’ other point came after making contact while going to the basket in transition. There’s a balance Hayes can find between his favorite shot, the short-midrange, and the extra step and challenge of defense. The coaching staff urged him to do this more often early in the season and he saw the results that came on Friday.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Freie Presse has launched a new digital subscription model. Here’s how to get access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more about the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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