Associated Press

Big fourth quarter lifts Raptors past Pistons 87-75

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Serge Ibaka had 17 points and eight rebounds and the Toronto Raptors used a fourth-quarter surge to beat the Detroit Pistons 87-75 on Friday night.

Toronto outscored Detroit 27-9 in the final period to take control of a game that appeared to be slipping away. The Pistons missed their final 10 shots of the game.

DeMar DeRozan added 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Toronto, which won for the second time in five games.

Reggie Jackson had 20 points for Detroit, which lost its third in a row. Andre Drummond had 22 points, but only had eight before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, posting matching 34.1 shooting percentages. Corey Joseph hit a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds left in the half to give Toronto a 40-38 lead.

Jackson led the Pistons with 11 points, while Drummond had 15 rebounds. DeMarre Carroll had 10 points for the Raptors.

Toronto jumped out to a 53-46 lead early in the third, but the Pistons rallied to go ahead 59-58 on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s 3-pointer. Jon Leuer‘s tip in at the buzzer gave Detroit a 66-60 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Pistons moved the lead to 72-63 in the opening minutes of the fourth, but Toronto went on a 22-2 run to take an 85-74 lead with 1:38 to play.

TIP INS

Raptors: Came in with a 6-9 record in the second game of a back-to-back. They are 33-20 in all other games.

Pistons: Drummond scored his 5,000th career point on a lob from Ish Smith in the third quarter. It was also the 34th time he had 20 rebounds in a game, including seven this season.

OH, CANADIANS

As has become customary for Raptors games at the Palace, the crowd was cheering louder for Toronto than Detroit. Heavy snow in Auburn Hills kept fans of both teams at home, but Raptors jerseys dominated the small crowd.

 

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.