Raptors 87, Pistons 78
TORONTO (AP)—Breaking with past practice, nobody addressed the crowd after the Raptors played their final home game of the season.
Perhaps it was because no one is certain what lies ahead for Toronto.
Donyell Marshall had 27 points and 16 rebounds as the Raptors ended Detroit’s eight-game winning streak with a 87-78 victory Tuesday night.
Vince Carter added 19 points for the lottery-bound Raptors, who end their season at Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
The Raptors, who are 32-49, did not have a front office person speak to the crowd after the final home game of the season. Former general manager Glen Grunwald has traditionally addressed and been booed by the crowd, but the Raptors fired him April 1.
Team President Richard Peddie has said a new general manager will decide whether coach Kevin O’Neill returns or not. O’Neill also could be bought out of his contract as soon as Thursday.
“I don’t have a problem with him,” Carter said. “If I had a problem with him I’d voice my opinion to them, but I don’t have a problem.”
Earlier Tuesday, O’Neill acknowledged he has thought about what he’ll do if he’s fired.
“If I end up getting fired I might just go ahead and watch my son play baseball for a year and do some broadcasting and just chill out a little bit,” said O’Neill, whose 17-year-old son lives in Arizona.
Detroit’s Ben Wallace became the first player in league history to have four consecutive seasons of at least 1,000 rebounds, 100 steals and 100 blocks. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Lacey all did it three times.
Wallace needed one rebound in Detroit’s season finale to do it. He finished with seven rebounds and 15 points.
“That’s just one of the things that comes with playing hard,” Wallace said. “That’s been my assignment for the last couple of years, to go out and rebound and defend and make things happen on the defensive end.”
At 54-28, Detroit finished third in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons won’t know who they will face in the playoffs until Wednesday night.
“We are going to fine tune our game and worry about who we’re going to play later,” Wallace said.
Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups missed the game because of a sprained left ankle, while forward Rasheed Wallace sat out with a sore left arch. Billups has missed three straight games, Wallace two.
Carter capped a 9-0 run in the third quarter with a 360-degree dunk. Ben Wallace followed with two straight layups to cut the lead to six, but Chris Bosh made a jumper and Marshall made consecutive 3-pointers, giving Toronto a 64-50 lead.
Mehmet Okur cut Toronto’s lead to five on two free throws with 2:45 left, but Marshall capped a 7-2 run with two free throws, giving Toronto a 86-76 leadwith 1:18 remaining.
Detroit coach Larry Brown said O’Neill isn’t to blame for Toronto’s season. “Things were going good until they got injuries. When you get injuries in your first year as a coach, it’s pretty tough, because you’re only as good as your players,” said Brown, who was almost fired in his first year in New Jersey. “We started out something terrible and they had an owners meeting and they were going to fire me before the 20th game. One owner stood up and backed me and here I am, I’ve been fooling them ever since.” … Toronto ended asix-game home losing streak. … Bosh had 13 rebounds and 12 points.