Kyle Lowry, who missed a quarter of the National Basketball Association regular season due to surgery on his right wrist, returned to active duty Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons, giving the Raptors a complete roster to use for the first time in more than a month.
The loss leaves Detroit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers and a half-game behind the Charlotte Hornets.
The Pistons' (35-43) loss in the second-to-last game at the Palace dropped their fading playoff chances to practically nil with four games remaining. "We ended up playing well in the fourth quarter, but we can't live that way and expect to go anywhere".
In his first game back, Lowry led his team to a comeback victory against the Detroit Pistons after losing the first quarter 33-15 and going down by as much as 20 (they were still trailing by 12 halfway through the fourth) before finally winning 105-102 on the road. He's been better than ever from distance to keep opposing teams on their toes, with a career-high 22.8 points per game this season to go along with career-highs in 3s made (3.3 per game) and percentage (41.6). After shooting 40 percent through the first three quarters, Toronto exploded for a 37-point fourth where they shot 67 percent from the floor.
"I wouldn't have played if I had any fear, " said Lowry, who wore a wrist band he says his wife gave him, evoking the famous words any husband would make.
When it was over and the Raps had come back from a 20-point hole to beat the Pistons, the head coach admitted he miscalculated Lowry's time on the floor.
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The engine was Kyle Lowry, in his first outing after missing 18 games with a wrist injury. "It shows what kind of teammate he is, but we are really, really happy for him". With three more ties in the final minutes, a Valanciunas hook shot followed by a DeRozan jump shot gave Toronto a four-point lead.
Detroit started the game without Caldwell-Pope (family reasons), while starting point guard Reggie Jackson remains sidelined to rest a bad knee.
Caldwell-Pope played 17 minutes in the second half.
The numbers are ugly and yet Toronto is two wins away from its second consecutive 50-win season, and wrapping up the No. 3 seed.
Morris will need to play a large role once again if the Pistons hope to close out their time at the Palace of Auburn Hills in a positive way. Barring an improbable run into the postseason, the arena's final game will be Monday against the Washington Wizards. "I didn't even know McKenzie had the baby until I looked over and saw KCP sitting on the bench", Van Gundy said. The team had their win over Pacers on last Friday, but also the team lost their recent game against the same Pacers on Tuesday night.
Pistons: Visit the Houston Rockets on Friday night.