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Knight layup delivers Pistons win

The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Brandon Knight wasn't supposed to take the last shot for the Detroit Pistons. They're glad the ball wound up in the second-year guard's hands.

Knight made a layup with 7.8 seconds remaining off a broken play, lifting the Pistons to a 91-90 victory over the Toronto Raptors Friday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Tayshaun Prince nearly took too much time inbounding the ball before finding Knight, who drove to the basket and split defenders for the game-winner. Toronto's Kyle Lowry missed a 17-footer at the buzzer as his team lost its third straight.

"Brandon did a great job of really, on the last play, being patient because I didn't have a timeout," Prince said. "The play wasn't set up for me to give him the ball. It was just that nobody was open, so I had to get it to him. He was patient enough to relax and see how much time we had and make a play out of it, so kudos to him."

Detroit won its second straight home game after blowing double-digit, second-half leads in its three previous games at The Palace. The Pistons gave away a 13-point lead Friday but showed a little more resilience by erasing a late five-point deficit.

"I just like the way we composed ourselves," coach Lawrence Frank said. "We made some mistakes and gave up some open shots but we were able to move on to the next play."

Greg Monroe had 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pistons (3-10). Rookie center Andre Drummond recorded his first double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Knight and Tayshaun Prince contributed 16 points apiece.

Drummond, the Pistons' first-round pick, had four points and nine rebounds in the fourth quarter.

"If you get into the paint and put shots on the glass and force Andre's man to get off his body, he's going to have a pretty good chance to keep it alive," Frank said. "By not settling for jump shots and getting into the paint, it forced Andre's man to help and gave him some separation to go crash the glass."

Andrea Bargnani scored a season-high 34 points and Lowry scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half for the Raptors (3-10).

Detroit outscored Toronto 52-26 in the paint with the aid of 15 offensive rebounds.

"It looks like the last play was the reason (for the loss) and it was not," Raptors coach Dwayne Casey said. "It was 15 offensive boards."

Knight made a 3-pointer for Detroit to tie it 82-82 with 2:54 remaining. Bargnani answered with a midrange shot but Monroe tied it again on two free throws. After an exchange of free throws and turnovers, Bargnani got loose in the left corner and drained a 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining to give the Raptors an 88-85 advantage.

Prince made a pair of hook shots, sandwiching a Lowry layup, to cut Toronto's lead to 90-89. Knight forced Lowry to miss an off-balance jumper before he rescued the Pistons from another crushing loss.

"He made a play. He split the screen and finished at the rim," Lowry said. "It's very frustrating but it's a learning process. We have to learn faster."

The Pistons gave up 21 unanswered points at the start of the second half in Orlando on Wednesday but they came out strong Friday, using an 11-2 run to build a 58-45 lead. The Raptors climbed back with a 12-2 spurt midway through the quarter and trailed 72-68 entering the fourth. Toronto then moved ahead with an 8-0 run, which included a Jose Calderon 3-pointer.

Monroe, who was averaging 20.3 points and 11.5 rebounds in his last four games, had 11 points and eight rebounds by halftime as the Pistons grabbed a 47-43 lead. Neither team led by more than eight, as Bargnani kept the Raptors close with 21 first-half points.

Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas, coming off back-to-back double doubles, had a Lithuanian rooting section in the lower bowl. He gave those fans a few early thrills with seven first-half points but wound up with just nine.

Notes: Monroe has grabbed five or more rebounds in 104 consecutive games, the league's longest current streak. ... Detroit has won 15 of its last 18 home games against Toronto. ... The Pistons were 0-7 against teams under .500 before defeating the Raptors. ... The teams, who rank among the five youngest in the NBA, had a combined eight rookies on their rosters. ... Neither team has finished with a winning record over the past four seasons.

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