Detroit — In the first two meetings this season, the Pistons have feasted on the Toronto Raptors, with some of their best shooting performances, both from the field and on 3-pointers.
They added another sizzling shooting display in the third meeting, and they finished with their third win against the Raptors, sweeping the three-game season series with a 118-104 victory on Monday night at Little Caesars Arena.
In each of the two previous wins over Toronto, the Pistons shot above 40% from 3-point range and 50% from the field; they replicated their shooting touch, hitting 51% from the field, 50% on 3-pointers and notching a 45-37 rebounding advantage.
The bad news for the Pistons: they don’t play the Raptors again this season.
Hamidou Diallo had a breakout game with 19 points and 10 rebounds, Saddiq Bey and Saben Lee added 19 points each and Cory Joseph 15 points for the Pistons (13-33).
“At this time of year, that’s what you need is an energy guy like that, playing hard and athletic,” coach Dwane Casey said of Diallo. “Sometimes, everybody gets a fire started and once he came in the game, the game changed, and it lit a fire under everybody.”
The Pistons built a 35-27 lead after the first quarter, with seven straight points from Diallo and Isaiah Stewart (14 points) finished it with a lay-in.
The Raptors (18-29) didn’t bounce back from a poor opening to the second quarter, when the Pistons scored the first 11 points, with a 3-pointer from Frank Jackson (12 points) and a 3-pointer and then two free throws from Joseph.
The Pistons pushed the lead to 16 entering halftime and it didn’t get much closer the rest of the way. They had a 9-0 run midway through the third quarter, with a 3-pointer from Joseph and baskets from Bey and Diallo to help push it to a comfortable margin.
In his second straight start, Lee looked more comfortable running the offense with that group, and getting them started “My mentality is just going out there, finding my teammates, being aggressive defensively and doing anything to try to give our team a chance to win,” said Lee, who added five assists.