Friday , Apr , 14 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

James pushes Raptors past Pistons

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – Mike James scored a career-high 39 points as
the Toronto Raptors snapped a 10-game skid with a 108-103 victory over the
Detroit Pistons at Air Canada Centre.

James was a perfect 18-of-18 from the free-throw line, a Raptors record
and dished out six assists for the Raptors, who hadn’t won since March
24 against Minnesota. Morris Peterson sprang for 20 points and Charlie
Villanueva added 15 points and eight rebounds in the victory.

Richard Hamilton had a team-best 16 points while Chauncey Billups donated 15
points and 10 assists for Detroit, which has already clinched the top spot in
the Eastern Conference and sat its starters for most of the final 12 minutes.

Toronto trailed by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, but quickly turned
the tables with a 13-2 charge.

Villanueva sparked the run with a three-pointer, and added a jumper later in
the burst to cut the deficit to four. James’ jumper finished it off with 4:44
left to put the Raptors in front, 89-88.

Carlos Delfino answered with a lay-in to temporarily put the Pistons back on
top, but Toronto countered with seven straight to build a 96-90 edge with 2:40
on the clock.

Lindsey Hunter hit the next two baskets to pull Detroit within one, and the
Pistons stayed close in the closing seconds. James sank a pair of free throws
with 11 ticks remaining to put the Raptors up 106-103, however, and Detroit
turned the ball over at the other end to seal the game.

The Raptors held a 52-47 edge at the break, paced by James’ 17 points.

Detroit, though, outscored Toronto 29-18 in the third stanza to assume a 76-70
advantage.

The Pistons took their first lead of the second half with 8:27 remaining in
the third, as Billups hit a driving layup, was fouled, and made the ensuing
shot from the stripe.

A 5-0 spurt minutes later, capped by a Ben Wallace free throw, upped the
advantage to 68-62. The lead ballooned all the way to 11 after a Maurice Evans
alley-oop slam with 1:21 left, but the Raptors scored the final five points of
the frame.

Game Notes

One more Detroit win would break a franchise record for victories in a year,
which currently stands at 63…The Pistons can clinch home court throughout
the playoffs with one more win or a San Antonio loss…Detroit won the season
series, 3-1…James has scored 30-plus points in five of his last six games.

DET TOR