Andrea Bargnani earned his first double-double of the campaign and Toronto managed to hold off a late surge from the visiting Detroit Pistons to defeat them 110-99 on Wednesday night.
Bargnani finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds — 10 of them on defence — for the Raptors (2-2). Chris Bosh continued his strong start to the year with 25 points and eight rebounds.
Toronto had a total of 31 defensive boards to go along with seven steals, correcting some previous poor play without the ball that had plagued the club in their two previous losses.
Ben Gordon had 27 points for Detroit (2-3), while teammate Charlie Villanueva added 16.
The Pistons gave the Raptors a scare early in the fourth quarter, coming within four points of Toronto’s lead, before Bargnani hit a three-point shot.
Later in the period, Detroit took their first lead since early in the second quarter, with Will Bynum’s layup to make it 91-90.
Jose Calderon restored Toronto’s lead with a three-pointer, moments later, and Bargnani later added four straight free throws to finally put the game out of reach.
The Raptors separated themselves from the Pistons early in the third quarter, stretching their lead to 17 at one point.
Ben Wallace put forth his best effort to keep Detroit in the game with a pair of dunks and helped his team narrow the gap to just eight points, 85-77 going into the final period.
Bargnani scored the first bucket of the game thanks to a steal and also added a defensive rebound that lead to Calderon scoring and giving the Raptors a 10-9 lead.
This was a positive start for the Raptors whose defence has been poor so far this season, hurting their great offensive numbers.
The lead didn’t last long though, as the Pistons then went on a seven-point run, before Bosh was fouled and sunk both of his free throws.
Detroit then began to pull away again thanks in large part to 12 opening quarter points from Gordon and a pair of three pointers from Villanueva.
Toronto charged back at the end of the first quarter with strong play at both ends of the court from Bargnani who had a couple defensive rebounds and nailed a three-point shot to close the Pistons lead to 28-24.
Early in the second quarter, the Raptors capped their comeback with a 16-3 run, highlighted by Antoine Wright’s three-pointer off the bench. Minutes in, Toronto was up 38-31.
The Raps kept coming with a highlight reel behind-the-back pass from Jarrett Jack to Bargnani for a soaring dunk and 43-33 lead. Toronto’s second unit already had 22 points by this time.
Detroit tried to chip away at the Raptors lead, but Toronto found ways to stay ahead, including successful three-pointers by Hedo Turkoglu and Wright. The Raptors had a 68-56 lead at halftime.
The Pistons entered Wednesday’s game having won five straight versus the Raptors and seven of the team’s last eight meetings.
Veterans Richard Hamilton (ankle) and Tayshaun Prince (back) did not suit up for Detroit.