This time, the Detroit Pistons weren’t going to let a big lead slip away.
Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 35 points, Rodney Stuckey had 21 and the Pistons beat Toronto 115-93 on Wednesday night, snapping a five-game losing streak against the Raptors.
Charlie Villanueva had 18 points and former Raptors star Tracy McGrady scored a season-high 17 to help the Pistons win for the third time in four games since blowing a 25-point lead to Toronto.
“It was on my mind,” Villanueva said of that 120-116 home loss Dec. 11, the biggest turnaround in Raptors history. “I circled this day because we threw away the game up in Detroit. Guys played a complete, full game of basketball. We just kept putting our foot on the gas pedal.”
The Pistons fell one point shy of matching a season high and ended an eight-game road skid, winning away from home for the first time since Nov. 14 at Sacramento.
“Tonight was fun,” Pistons coach Jon Kuester said. “They enjoyed themselves, they played together, they were sharing the basketball. Just to see how our energy was for 48 minutes was impressive.”
Hamilton said the Pistons were intent on protecting their lead this time. Detroit led by 32 and easily sent the short-handed Raptors to their eighth loss in 10 games.
“We came in and halftime and we said ‘The game’s not over,”‘ Hamilton said. “Even though we were up 18 points, we said we’ve got to play another half. When they were down, guys wanted to keep them down.”
Yanked from the starting lineup before a victory Sunday over New Orleans, Hamilton had extra motivation for this one.
“Tonight I just wanted to make a statement,” Hamilton said. “With all the stuff talked about and things like that, I just wanted to come out and make a statement.”
McGrady, who played his first three seasons for Toronto, also set season-highs with seven rebounds and seven assists. He was booed by fans, but said many probably don’t even know why they were jeering a player whose left after the 1999-2000 season to join Orlando.
“It’s not like I was Chris Bosh, selling out the city like this thing was horrible, or making crazy comments about the city,” McGrady said. “It was between Toronto or going back home to Orlando. That’s pretty much it.”
Whether they knew or not, Villanueva said the jeers seemed to inspire McGrady.
“They need to boo him more often because he played terrific,” Villanueva said.
Leandro Barbosa scored 21 points, Linas Kleiza had 19 and Andrea Bargnani 16 for Toronto. DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis each scored 10 points and Jose Calderon had 13 assists for Toronto, the third straight time he’s reached double digits.
The Raptors had a season-high 24 turnovers, eclipsing the 21 they had in a Nov. 5 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bargnani returned to the starting lineup after missing two of the previous three games. Bargnani, who sat out Sunday’s loss to the Lakers with a sore right ankle, strained his left calf in the third quarter but stayed in the game.
“Our best players have been banged up a little bit, Jose and Andrea, and they both had horrible games,” Raptors coach Jay Triano said.
Amir Johnson started for the Raptors but scored only two points in 15 minutes before leaving with back spasms. Joey Dorsey took over for Johnson to start the second half.
Detroit lost forward Jason Maxiell to a dislocated finger on his right hand in the second quarter. X-rays were negative.
•Detroit’s Ben Wallace played in his 1,000th career game.
•Calderon had eight turnovers.
•Raptors guard Sonny Weems (back spasms) missed his third straight game.
•Toronto guard Jerryd Bayless (illness) did not play.
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