Detroit Pistons’ late rally falls short vs. Raptors, 115-111; Isaiah Stewart injured

Detroit Free Press

Since hiring Dwane Casey as head coach, the Detroit Pistons have dominated the Toronto Raptors.

The ex-Raptors coach of the year had won six straight games over his former team, and nine of their last 12 contests. But that run of success didn’t carry over into Monday.

The Raptors led much of the night and defeated the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena, 115-111. Detroit attempted a late comeback, using an 18-8 fourth-quarter run to cut the deficit to 96-95 with 6:16 to play. But the Pistons never took the lead, and four free throws from Raptors forward Delano Banton (game-high 27 points) in the final 16 seconds allowed Toronto to hang on.

Jaden Ivey led the Pistons with 21 points and eight assists, and scored 13 points in the final period. A late 3-pointer from Ivey with 8.9 seconds left brought the Pistons within a possession, 113-11. Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 18 points, five assists and five rebounds and Marvin Bagley III added 18 points in his first start of the season. Alec Burks tallied 15 points off of the bench.

THNK BIG:Marvin Bagley III returns shows potential, and drawbacks, to Pistons’ 2-big lineups

The Pistons were without Cade Cunningham (left shin soreness) for the third game in a row.

Burks providing scoring punch off bench

It hasn’t taken long for Burks to find his offensive groove after missing training camp, preseason and the first few weeks of the regular season. He after scoring 17 points in his season debut last Friday, and picked up where he left off on Monday with 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting. He was Detroit’s only bench player to score in double figures.

With Cory Joseph (left hip soreness) and Cunningham in street clothes, Burks ran point guard for spurts against the Raptors. He played a lot of point guard for the Knicks last season, and that aspect of his game has suddenly become a bonus for a Pistons team dealing with depth issues.

Stewart injured, but finding consistency from 3

The Pistons were nearing full health after Burks and Bagley made their regular season debuts last week. But they lost Cunningham to left shin soreness last Friday, and Joseph missed Monday’s game. Add Stewart to the injury report as well.

With 3:20 remaining in the second quarter, Stewart limped off of the floor after crashing into a protection barrier next to the rim. He set a ghost screen for Bojan Bogdanovic but Bogdanovic’s pass back to Stewart was too long and carried Stewart out of bounds. The center lost his balance while chasing the ball and immediately hobbled back to the locker room.

Entering Monday, Stewart had hit 10 of his previous 25 3-pointers — 40% — in Detroit’s last nine games. The Pistons should be very happy with his volume and accuracy, as he’s quickly become a credible outside threat. He had hit both of his attempts on Monday before exiting the game.

Bagley starts, Bey moves to bench

Bagley’s return from an MCL sprain last Saturday allowed Dwane Casey to return to playing lineups with two big men more frequently. Casey didn’t waste any time, inserting Bagley into the starting five on Monday and moving Bey to the bench. This move gives the bench unit, which has been one of the NBA’s worst thus far and battered by injuries, another proven scorer in Bey. It also gives Detroit more size up front.

For most of the first half, two bigs shared the floor together. Duren checked in for Bagley midway through the first quarter, and Stewart replaced Duren midway through the second period. But Stewart’s injury, for which he was ruled out at halftime, forced Casey to abandon the two-big rotation once again. Bey started the third quarter, and Casey staggered Bagley and Duren for the rest of the game.

Bey had an off night in his bench debut, finishing with nine points on 3-for-10 shooting. It was his first time coming off of the bench since Feb. 2, 2021. He had started 142 consecutive games.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa.

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