Sun, 04 Jun 2023

Raptors blow out Pistons to sweep season series

25 Mar 2023, 16:55 GMT+10

TORONTO, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Pascal Siakam scored a game-high 32 points and dished out nine assists as the Toronto Raptors dominated the Detroit Pistons 118-97 on Friday evening to complete a 4-0 season sweep.

With the win, the Raptors improved to 42-60 all-time against their Eastern Conference foes and captured all four games against the Pistons in a season for the first time since 2017-2018. Toronto also swept Detroit in 2019-2020 (3-0), 2013-2014 (3-0) and 2009-2010 (4-0).

The Raptors stormed out to a quick 20-7 to start the game and led by 12 after the first frame. By halftime, the game was already out of reach with the Raptors leading 72-52.

Siakam contributed in a big way with 26 of his 32 points in the first half. Over the last five games, the All-Star forward has eclipsed 20 or more points four times and is averaging 25.6 points per game on 53 percent shooting.

"I really liked his assertiveness when he got the ball. There wasn't a whole lot of dribbling into places," said the Raptors head coach Nick Nurse following the win. "He got to some really basic stuff, over and over."

Nurse also got 38 points from his reserves, the most in nine games. Half of the bench points came from forward Chris Boucher, who scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.

"We're best when he's just flying around, making a lot of energy plays on the glass, tipping balls," praised Nurse of Boucher's energy. "That I think is contagious and translates to other players."

The 30-year-old ranks third in the league with double-doubles off the bench behind Bobby Portis (21) and Russell Westbrook (16).

With eight games remaining on the season, the 36-38 Raptors sit ninth in the Eastern Conference with a one-game lead over the Chicago Bulls and trail No. 8 Atlanta Hawks by half a game.

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