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Raptors tie franchise wins record, beat Pistons

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The accomplishments keep piling up for the surprising Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors clinched the Atlantic Division championship for first time in seven years on Friday. Behind the guard tandem of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, they tied the franchise record for victories on Sunday.

DeRozan poured in 30 points and Lowry scored 28 before fouling out in a 116-107 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon at The Palace.

Toronto (47-33), which also won 47 games in 2000-01 and 2006-07, can set a new record with a victory over Milwaukee on Monday or a win at New York on Wednesday.

“It definitely means a lot,” DeRozan said. “If you really sit down and look at it, that’s big, to be tied with the franchise record and have a chance to break it. We’ve come a long way. A lot of people wouldn’t have counted us to be in the position we’re in now. It’s definitely a credit to our hard work, both the players and the coaching staff.”

The Raptors didn’t make it easy on themselves, giving away an 18-point lead and going the last 5:51 without Lowry. But Toronto scored six unanswered points shortly after Lowry’s departure to build an eight-point lead and the Pistons never got closer than six the rest of the way.

“Everybody was frustrated with the calls when Kyle fouled out but we’re not going to win by complaining and fussing to get calls,” DeRozan sid. “You’ve got to go out there and take it and that’s what we did.”

Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points for the Raptors, who have won five of their last six games. The Pistons grabbed 21 offensive rebounds but only converted on six of those opportunities, which helped the Raptors survive.

“It’s timing, grit, anticipation and a lot of those things we did not have,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said of Detroit’s offensive rebounding. “They basically manhandled us in the paint and we have to get better than that.”

Power forward Greg Monroe led the Pistons (29-52) with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Rodney Stuckey had 18 points, point guard Brandon Jennings chipped in 17 and center Andre Drummond supplied 14 points and 17 rebounds.

The Pistons, who had high expectations of a playoff run this season, finished 17-24 at home.

“We just weren’t able to get into a groove earlier on in the year to gain confidence and know we’re a playoff team,” Detroit swingman Kyle Singler said. “I do believe we have the right pieces in place to be a playoff team.”

The Raptors’ 14-point halftime lead was down to five in the first four minutes of the third quarter after a 12-0 Pistons run. Monroe, who had 13 points and seven rebounds during the quarter, put Detroit on top in the final minute with a layup. Lowry answered with a jumper to give Toronto an 87-86 edge entering the fourth quarter.

DeRozan’s three-point play with 7:12 remaining put the Raptors up 97-95. Lowry committed his sixth foul against Drummond in the backcourt with 5:51 remaining but Toronto kept building its lead. Forward Patrick Patterson’s layup made it 105-97 and the Pistons failed to make another run.

Drummond and Monroe picked up two fouls apiece in the first four minutes and went to the bench the remainder of the first quarter. With the Pistons lacking their two best big men, the Raptors shredded their defense and scored 42 points, a season high for Toronto in any quarter.

“We had no rhythm early on and we didn’t guard,” Pistons interim coach John Loyer said. “You give a team 42 points in the first quarter, I don’t know what your chance of winning is, but I would think it’s pretty low. There’s no excuse for giving up 42 points.”

Lowry made two 3-pointers in the final minute of the half to give the Raptors a 63-49 lead.

NOTES: Pistons SF Josh Smith missed his fourth consecutive game with left patella tendinitis. … Toronto SF Landry Fields did not make the trip because of flu-like symptoms. … The Raptors’ previous high for a quarter this season was 38 points. … Detroit C Andre Drummond’s 56 double-doubles ties him with Bill Laimbeer for the second most by a Piston since 1984-85. Isiah Thomas had 65 that season. … Toronto coach Dwane Casey is concerned about his team’s 1-6 overtime record with the postseason approaching. “We’re still trying to develop that closing mentality,” he said. … The Pistons have finished at least five games below .500 at home in three of the last five seasons. … Toronto swept the season series for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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