Raptors fans give former coach Casey standing ovation in return

Ruben Hill
November 15, 2018

Griffin's Pistons beat the Raptors 106-104 in Toronto on Wednesday on a last-second shot by Reggie Bullock on an inbounds pass. Griffin concluded the emphatic night by saying the win was for Casey.

Right after their win over the Raptors, Casey's former team, Griffin said that his coach's ability to draw up excellent plays isn't new to them, hinting that the Raptors may have taken this for granted. "I was just proud of the way we came back and responded".

"He was drawing up a play", Griffin said. "He demands execution and we executed". "Maybe to Toronto fans or certainly their GM, maybe it was a surprise, but not to us".

Toronto shot just 2-of-11 from three-point range (compared to 6-of-17 for Detroit) in the half but had a 30-20 edge in rebounds over the Pistons, a good rebounding side, and had a 44-28 edge in points in the paint. Leonard brought the ball up but lost it out of bounds with 2 seconds to go.

As Raptors fans experienced time and time again in previous years, Casey kept his cool and made sure the Pistons didn't lose focus in the second half. "But those human beings, they felt for me". Blake was the first one. I understand it because it is the National Basketball Association but you never understand why. We have a good unit.

After the game, Griffin took a shot at Toronto in support of Casey. Kyle Lowry had 14 points and seven assists. "I think it meant a lot to him".

Lowry said after the game the Raptors needed to do a better job communicating on defence.

The lead-up to the game had been surreal.

Casey went 320-238 in seven seasons with the Raptors, more wins than any other coach in franchise history. He joked that his young son, after spending much of his childhood in Toronto, was glad to find a Tim Hortons in their new MI neighbourhood, so he won't go without Timbits.

Toronto (12-3) seemed to have the game in control for the first three quarters but fell behind after a furious fourth-quarter fightback by Detroit and lost its second straight. Players from both benches also stood and applauded as Casey acknowledged the crowd with a wave. Jonas Valanciunas started in his place.

Valanciunas, starting at centre, was tagged with a pair of fouls in the first quarter. Monroe came up with a 17 point, 7 rebound night, while Valanciunas would manage 14 points and six boards.

The Raptors were also missing Norman Powell (shoulder) and C.J. Miles (adductor strain).

The result was the Pistons making a comeback that saw them outscore the Raptors 29-16 in the fourth quarter and getting their first lead with under five minutes remaining in the game. There were fiesty moments down the stretch - like a charge by big Drummond on Lowry and a swatting block by Griffin.

Detroit cut the Toronto lead to 11 going into the final quarter. He thwarted the first of two Pistons game-winning in-bound plays with a monster block.

But then Calderon and Bullock, who finished with five points on the night, worked their magic.

Next up for the Raptors is a Friday contest in Boston with the Celtics.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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