Raptors set franchise record for assists, hammer visiting Pistons
With Anunoby back after a three-game absence, the Raptors (6-7) rolled over the basement-dwelling Pistons (2-12) with a 142-113 win, setting a franchise record with 44 team assists and producing a season-high point total in the process.
Pascal Siakam led the way for Toronto with 23 points, but Anunoby's peaceful presence helped the Raptors become the latest team to beat up the Pistons, who have lost 11 in a row.
Anunoby scored nine points in 27 minutes as the Raptors halted a two-game slide and finished a four-game homestand at 2-2 before 19,182 at Scotiabank Arena.
"It's all right. It's getting better every day," the 26-year-old Anunoby said of his injury. He hurt his finger in an undisclosed incident, requiring five stitches to repair.
"It was gushing blood," Anunoby revealed.
He practised the past week performing left-handed-only drills at the suggestion of Toronto head coach Darko Rajakovic.
"I thought he was on to something," Anunoby said. "I enjoyed it."
The Raptors' previous best for assists was 40 against the Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 18, 2019.
Their point total surpassed the 130-11 win at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 1. The 142 points against the Pistons was only the fifth time in franchise history the Raptors scored 140 or more.
The Raptors also extended their streak of 25 assists or more to nine games, one shy of the club record set on Jan. 8-28, 2020.
"I think today was one of those games where the ball was on a string for us," Raptors centre Jakob Poeltl said. "We saw it in the numbers, the assist numbers were pretty high, and it wasn't just one person with 20 assists. It was the whole team.
"Everyone was sharing the ball. Everyone was moving well, so you create a lot of easy shots that way, and we found a lot of ways to break down their defence. It feels like we just made the right read through most parts of that game."
Stanley Umude led the way for Detroit with 19 points.
Toronto overcame a poor shooting stretch in the first quarter when Achiuwa came off the bench to score 10 points in seven minutes at the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second.
The Raptors opened a 21-point lead early in the second quarter when Achiuwa and Barnes nailed back-to-back three-pointers at the 2:01 and 2:27 marks, respectively.
"I expect him to do an even better job," Rajakovic said of Achiuwa. "I think he has a lot of potential, a lot of talent, and I'm hard on him.
"We are talking every single day about what I want from him, what this team needs from him, what he's capable of giving us."
The Raptors led 32-20 after the first quarter, 69-45 at halftime and 104-72 after three quarters.
GETTING A KICK
Jonathan David and his Canadian men's national soccer teammates attended the Raptors game. On Tuesday, they play host to Jamaica at BMO Field in the second leg of their CONCACAF Nation's League quarterfinal.
Canada defeated Jamaica 2-1 on Saturday.
First-year Pistons head coach Monty Williams considers first-year Raptors head coach Rajakovic a good friend, even though the latter only spent the season on Williams's staff with the 2019-20 Phoenix Suns.
Williams revealed a little about Rajakovic's lifestyle.
"I have yet to run into anyone who can consume that much coffee in one day," Williams said. "He sweats coffee."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2023.