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Pistons send Raptors to third straight loss

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Associated Press
4/22/2012 9:10:12 PM
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Ben Gordon gave the Detroit Pistons a winning end to an otherwise ugly game.

The Pistons shook off an awful first half and Gordon scored seven of their final eight points -- including the go-ahead basket -- to hang on for a 76-73 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

Gordon's three-pointer with less than three minutes to play broke a 68-all tie and he added four subsequent free throws to keep Detroit ahead. He and rookie Brandon Knight each scored 19 points to help the Pistons end a two-game losing streak.

"Obviously all game was pretty much an ugly game," Gordon said. "We just stuck it out and tried to be more persistent than they were."

DeMar DeRozan had 16 to lead the Raptors, who lost their third straight.

The Pistons couldn't celebrate the victory until Linas Kleiza's wide-open three-point attempt bounced off the rim as time expired.

"LK had a great look at the end of the game and that's all we can ask for," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey, who did not play DeRozan in the final quarter to give a handful of other players more minutes as his team plays out the final games of the season.

Alan Anderson had two chances to give the Raptors the lead in the final 20 seconds but missed both shots.

Gordon's three-pointer capped a second half that had 15 lead changes and five ties. Detroit turned 17 Raptors turnovers into 18 points and shot 20 per cent better from the field in the last 24 minutes.

Neither team will be playing beyond the end of the regular season and Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said that seemed to show Sunday night.

"Both teams obviously are in very similar situations," he said. "Almost identical records, both not going to the playoffs.

"Those games go either one of two ways: Either 130-126 or it's this."

Toronto took a 34-29 lead to intermission after the teams combined for the NBA's second-lowest halftime output of the season. The Pistons made just 27 per cent of their field-goal attempts in the opening half and the Raptors (35.1) weren't much better. Detroit's 29 points were the fewest they've scored in a first half this season.

Greg Monroe had nine points and 17 of Detroit's 41 rebounds. Reserves Kleiza and Gary Forbes finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Raptors, who also got 10 rebounds from Solomon Alabi.

NOTES: Casey said he doubted G Jose Calderon will play in either of the team's final two games. He's been out since suffering a cut above his right eye in an April 11 loss at Philadelphia. . Pistons F Ben Wallace returned after missing Thursday's loss to Minnesota to attend a funeral. . Kleiza (right knee) played for the Raptors after missing two games. . Indiana and Boston had the league's lowest-scoring first half Jan. 6 when they had a combined 58 points at the break.

Ben Gordon, Solomon Alabi (Photo: Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
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