Kyle Lowry had 27 points and 10 assists in his return from a wrist injury and the Toronto Raptors rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons 105-102 on Wednesday night.
Back in the lineup after missing 18 games, Lowry helped the Raptors overcame a 20-point first-half deficit. Toronto moved a half-game ahead of the Washington Wizards for third place in the East.
Jonas Valanciunas had 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Detroit, Ish Smith and Tobias Harris had 16 points each, and Cory Joseph added 15. The Pistons dropped to 11th in the conference, three games behind Miami, Chicago and Indiana with four games to play.
Serge Ibaka's 3-pointer gave Toronto its first lead of the game with 1:20 to play, but Marcus Morris answered with a 3-pointer to tie it at 100 with 1:09 left.
Valanciunas put the Raptors back in front, and Smith's short jumper spun out with 50 seconds left. DeMar DeRozan followed with a 20-footer to give the Raptors a 104-100 lead with 25.6 seconds left.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made it 104-102, and the Pistons fouled Valanciunas with 7.1 seconds to play. He split the free throws to put Toronto up three, and Caldwell-Pope and Harris both missed tying shots.
Detroit started the game without Caldwell-Pope (family reasons), while starting point guard Reggie Jackson remains sidelined to rest a bad knee. Caldwell-Pope joined his teammates on the bench late in the second quarter, and was on the floor to begin the third quarter.
The Pistons got off to a rare quick start, leading 29-13 after nine minutes despite their makeshift starting backcourt. Smith was able to consistently beat Lowry to the rim, opening up the rest of the offence.
Lowry, though, finished the half with 16 points and Toronto only trailed 56-46 at the intermission. The Raptors started the third quarter with a 6-0 run that was aided by a flagrant foul committed on Lowry by Drummond.
Detroit moved the margin back to 80-68 by the end of the quarter, but Toronto's 3-point shooting kept the game close into the final minutes.
Lowry's three-point play cut the deficit to 95-93 with 3:27 to play, and DeRozan tied it with a layup.
Raptors: As has become usual with Raptors games in Detroit, Toronto fans made up a large percentage of the crowd. ... Toronto won for the 21st time this season when it trailed at some point by double digits.
Pistons: The game was the next-to-last regular-season contest at the Palace of Auburn Hills — Detroit's home since 1987. Barring an improbable run into the post-season, the arena's final game will be Monday against the Washington Wizards. The Pistons and Detroit Red Wings both move to Little Caesars Arena this fall.
NEW BALL, PLEASE
The officials had to change the game ball early in the second quarter, when an errant Toronto pass sent it sailing into a courtside fan's beverage. The Pistons led 37-17 at the time of the switch, and the Raptors narrowed the margin to 10 at the half.
Raptors: Host the Miami Heat on Friday night.
Pistons: Visit the Houston Rockets on Friday night.