By Ian Harrison, Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) – Coach Dwane Casey says a four-game winning streak shows his Toronto Raptors are finding ways to win.
That’s something the Detroit Pistons still haven’t figured out.
DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Alan Anderson scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and the Raptors beat the slumping Pistons 97-91 Wednesday night.
“We’re finding ways to win and that’s the most important thing for our group,” Casey said. “We’re believing we can win, we’re trusting each other, we’re pulling for each other.”
Jose Calderon had 17 assists, one shy of his season high, and Jonas Valanciunas scored 12 points for the Raptors, who last won four straight from Nov. 17-24, 2010.
Greg Monroe scored a career-high 35 points to go with 10 rebounds and Rodney Stuckey had 13 for the Pistons, who lost their sixth straight and fell to 2-13 on the road. Detroit is 0-17 when trailing after three quarters.
“We’re trying to find out what we need to do to get back on track,” Monroe said.
Pistons rookie Kyle Singler agreed.
“We’ve just got to learn how to win in the fourth quarter,” Singler said. “I’m not quite sure how we’re going to get there but we’ve got to learn to manage the fourth quarter better as a team and learn how to win.”
Ed Davis had 11 points and nine rebounds for Toronto, which came in having lost six of the past seven meetings with Detroit.
As he did in Tuesday’s road win at Cleveland, Anderson helped seal it for Toronto with a trio of 3-pointers in the final quarter.
“He’s the underdog and he plays like an underdog,” Casey said. “He’s hungry. That’s the way you have to play in this league.”
The Pistons missed 12 of 30 free throws, with rookie center Andre Drummond going 2 for 7 and Stuckey hitting only two of his five attempts.
“We missed 12 free throws, we missed 24 shots in the paint and that resulted in the outcome,” head coach Lawrence Frank said.
Point guard Brandon Knight struggled with his shooting, making just one of 10 field goal attempts and finishing with two points.
Monroe, however, was all but unstoppable, surpassing his previous career best of 32 by hitting 14 of 22 shots.
“The game slowed down a little bit for me tonight,” Monroe said. “Once I got into a rhythm, things seemed to be a little bit easier.”
Anderson made one of three from the line to begin the fourth then added a 3-pointer on Toronto’s next possession. Just over five minutes later he connected again, making 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Raptors up 88-77 with 6:25 left.
“That’s what he does,” DeRozan said. “If a couple of us don’t have it going, he’s definitely one guy we can go to to get points or create something for somebody else.”
Monroe scored four points as Detroit cut the deficit to four with a 7-0 run over the next 3:30, but a 3 by Calderon made it 91-84 with 2:29 remaining.
“I’ve always had a great deal of respect for (Calderon),” Frank said. “He’s a super competitor and has just great moxie.”
DeRozan scored 10 points and Valanciunas had eight to give the Raptors a 27-23 lead after one quarter.
Toronto led 49-43 with 1:02 left in the first half but Detroit knotted the score with a 6-0 run, including a tip-in by Singler at the buzzer, tying it 49-all at intermission.
Monroe had 14 points in the third, while DeRozan had 11 for the Raptors, who took a narrow 74-71 lead into the fourth.
NOTES: Stuckey returned after sitting out Monday’s loss to the Clippers with back spasms. … Detroit recalled G Kim English and F Khris Middleton from Fort Wayne of the NBA Development League. … Calderon had a season-high 18 assists against Orlando on Nov. 18. His career best is 19, set twice. Calderon assisted on eight of Toronto’s first 10 field goals and had nine assists in the first quarter alone. Toronto’s record for assists in a single quarter is 11, set by Doug Christie.
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