Blake Griffin leads Detroit Pistons to overtime win over Toronto Raptors, 112-107
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — The Detroit Pistons may be peaking at the right time, winning nine of 11 games to surge in the standings, and would probably feel confident about their chances if they match up with Toronto in the playoffs.
The Pistons, though, will likely have to get past the Raptors with their best player on the court when the games truly matter.
Blake Griffin scored 14 of his 27 points in the first quarter and Detroit finished with plays at both ends of the court to beat Toronto 112-107 in overtime on Sunday, taking advantage of Kawhi Leonard having the night off.
The Raptors rested Leonard less than 48 hours after he made the go-ahead shot in the closing seconds of their win over Portland.
“They’re just doing the right precautions to make sure I’m healthy down the road,” said Leonard, who has played in 46 of 64 games. “I only played nine games last year so the boost is like 200 percent or something like that. It’s all about the body. I know what the bigger picture is.”
The highly charged, closely contested game might be a first-round matchup in the Eastern Conference playoffs. It looked and sounded like the postseason in Detroit, where a lot of Raptors fans could be seen and heard all night.
“It was definitely a playoff atmosphere out there,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “I’m not sure how many fans were cheering for us, but they were loud.”