Calderon breaks assist record but Pistons beat reeling Raptors 99-95
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, March 14, 2009 10:37AM EDT
TORONTO - For someone who isn't particularly fond of the word "frustrating," Chris Bosh sounded exactly that Friday.
And who could blame him?
Bosh had 27 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors came oh-so-close to ending their losing skid, but they were done in by the Detroit Pistons, who beat Toronto 99-95 in overtime to send the Raptors to their seventh consecutive defeat.
The Raptors captain wasn't pleased when asked if this loss was particularly frustrating.
"Stop using that word `frustrating,"' Bosh replied. "Jesus Christ, where do you all get that word, use another word, you all got a thesaurus around?
"I'm not upset. You compete, you play the game, you play to win, if you come up short then that's what it is. Nobody's frustrated around here. When you lose a game, of course you want to win, but it is what it is."
Richard Hamilton had 24 points and a career-high 16 assists, while Rodney Stuckey scored 17 to lead the Pistons (33-31).
Jose Calderon had 20 points, including the basket with nine seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime, and his 11 assists gave him the Raptors all-time franchise record.
"I'm happy because I love to be here," Calderon said on his record, which now stands at 1,795 and counting. "Hopefully I can do double or triple those assists and be here with the Raptors for my whole career."
Pops Mensah-Bonsu finished with a team-high 10 rebounds to go with eight points for the Raptors (23-43), who were missing starting centre Andrea Bargnani for most of the night.
The Raptors didn't certainly didn't go down without a fight. The Pistons led 68-57 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Raptors turned up the intensity over the final 12 minutes, and when Shawn Marion scored on a jump shot with a couple of Pistons draped all over him with a minute to go, it cut Detroit's lead to just a point, bringing the capacity crowd of 19,800 at the Air Canada Centre to its feet.
Arron Afflalo silenced the crowd by draining a three with 40 seconds to go, but Marion responded with a basket and then Calderon scored with nine seconds left to tie the game 88-88 and send it into overtime.
The Pistons scored the first nine points of overtime but Toronto was within three when Bosh went to the line for two free throws with 15 seconds left. He missed the second, and Mensah-Bonsu leapt to grab the rebound but tossed the ball away as he was falling down, into the hands of the Pistons.
"(Mensah-Bonsu) made a great play, he made a spectacular play, it's just unfortunate what happened," Bosh said. "He brought a lot of energy for us and he's very valuable to us right now."
Jason Maxiell scored on an easy dunk for Detroit as the Pistons swept their season series with Toronto for the first time in 11 years.
"This one hurts, we finally showed signs of life and a sense of urgency, we looked like a desperate team out there and we played like one and made some of the right plays at the right time, put us in position to win the game," said Mensah-Bonsu. "We battled one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, a veteran team, and we hopefully we bring this for the rest of the games and we're able to make a run."
Bargnani had to leave the game after playing just nine minutes because of flu-like symptoms. Bargnani played through the flu on Wednesday, scoring a team-high 21 points in Toronto's 115-106 loss at Philadelphia.
"He came out and said that's it, I can't go anymore," said Raptors coach Jay Triano. "It's unfortunate, that's a lot of points and scoring that we could have used."
The Pistons outshot Toronto 49 per cent to 40 for the Raptors, although Toronto edged Detroit 46-44 in rebounding.
"I think most importantly tonight we really trusted ourselves," Hamilton said. "In overtime we just trusted everybody, we trusted that guys would be in positions to make plays and we did."
Bosh made just 11 of his career-high 31 field goal attempts.
Calderon's record-breaking assist came on a 20-foot jumper by Jason Kapono with 5:48 left in the second quarter. He topped the previous franchise record of 678 set by Alvin Williams in his four seasons as a Raptor.
Calderon picked up seven assists alone in the first quarter, including an off-balance alley-oop to Parker that bounced on the rim a couple of times before falling in, summing up a sloppy opening frame for both teams. The Pistons pulled ahead by six before Toronto cut Detroit's lead to 24-21 heading into the second.
The Raptors grabbed the lead early in the second and assembled an eight-point advantage on a pull-up jump shot by Kapono 1:30 before halftime. Walter Herrmann drained a three at the buzzer to end the quarter cutting Toronto's lead to 45-40 at halftime.
The Pistons found another gear late in the third, outscoring Toronto 12-2 in the finally 4:32 to take a 68-57 lead into the fourth.
NOTES: Detroit hadn't swept Toronto since winning all four meetings in 1997-98. . . Pistons guard Richard Hamilton picked up a technical in the second for arguing a call. . . The Pistons were 13-3 against Toronto heading into Friday. . . The Pistons were without Allen Iverson for the eighth straight game. The guard is expected to be out another week with a back injury. . . The Raptors host Indiana on Sunday then head to Charlotte to face the Bobcats on Monday.