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Short-handed Raptors lose to Pistons

TORONTO — There was no dramatic comeback from the Toronto Raptors against the Detroit Pistons this time around.

TORONTO — There was no dramatic comeback from the Toronto Raptors against the Detroit Pistons this time around.

Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 35 points Wednesday to help make sure the Raptors didn't repeat their greatest comeback in franchise history as Detroit downed Toronto 115-93.

Leandro Barbosa led Toronto with 21 points, Linas Kleiza added 19 and Andrea Bargnani had 16 for the Raptors (10-19), who dug themselves an 18-point hole by halftime.

The last time the two teams met, Dec. 11 in Detroit, the Raptors trailed by 25 points in the third quarter but rallied to win 120-116 for the biggest turnaround in team history.

"It was on my mind," said former Raptor Charlie Villanueva. "I circled this day because we threw away the game up in Detroit. Guys played a complete, full game of basketball. We just kept putting our foot on the gas pedal."

Detroit pulled away with a strong second quarter in which Toronto committed 11 of their season-high 24 turnovers.

"Our hands are tied a little bit in a game like this with so many guys out," Toronto coach Jay Triano said. "But we still have to be better looking after the ball."

The Raptors take a four-day break for Christmas, time they can use to heal their various ailments, including a bout of food poisoning that sidelined Jerryd Bayless on Wednesday.

Toronto was also without Sonny Weems (back spasms). Amir Johnson was a game-time decision because of a sore back but didn't play the second half.

Bargnani, who missed two of the past three games with ankle and knee injuries, strained his left calf during the third quarter but returned to the court after a brief break.

"Hopefully we get some rest and come back more focused," Bargnani said.

Jose Calderon played on a sore left foot that forced him out of four games. He had eight turnovers to go with five points and 13 assists.

"It's not news that we have a lot of guys out, a lot of guys hurt," Triano said. "Our best players have been banged up a little bit as well, Jose and Andrea, and they both had horrible games.

"If you are going to win with a depleted lineup then your other guys have to have to step up and neither one of those two guys really had very good games. I know Andrea's been hurt and is still hurt and Jose is playing hurt. I credit those guys for trying to play and help their team."

Turnovers also proved costly for the Raptors, leading to 41 Pistons points.

Rodney Stuckey finished with 21 points for Detroit, while Villanueva finished with 18 points and Tracy McGrady had a season-high 17.

McGrady, a former Raptors star, was booed throughout the game when the fans weren't booing Toronto. McGrady said many fans probably didn't know why they were jeering a player who left town after the 1999-2000 season.

"It's not like I was Chris Bosh, selling out the city like this thing was horrible, or making crazy comments about the city," McGrady said. "It was between Toronto or going back home to Orlando. That's pretty much it.

"It does fuel me. Keep booing me. I love it. It really doesn't bother me at all."

Toronto crept to within 16 in the fourth but the Pistons were back up by 31 after Hamilton's three-pointer midway through the quarter. Hamilton hit another three with 4:03 left to stretch the lead to 32.

"We didn't match their intensity," Kleiza said. "We've got to do a better job. It's tough to go into the break to celebrate Christmas with a loss like that.

"We've got to find a way. We could have done with more effort. That was the main thing."

The Raptors stayed close through the first quarter. Hamilton hit a three from 25 feet with 27.9 seconds to play to give the Pistons (10-19) a 24-23 lead heading into the second.

McGrady led the Pistons in a second-quarter surge that gave the visitors a 48-37 lead with 3:20 left in the half. Hamilton hit on another pair of three-pointers to increase Detroit's lead to 14. McGrady's driving reverse layup off a steal by Villanueva gave him 15 points in the quarter and sent the Pistons into the locker-room at halftime up 62-44.

Detroit had the lead up to 23 points four minutes into the third quarter prompting boos from the crowd at Air Canada Centre.

"Sometimes being selfish when we should have given up the ball earlier," said DeMar DeRozan. "We just tried to do too much."

Notes: Bargnani missed three of his first four free throws and five of his first six field-goal attempts. ... Peja Stojakovic missed his 13th consecutive game with a swollen left knee. ... DeRozan took the microphone at centre court before the game and wished the crowd season's greetings. ... The Raptors play next on Dec. 27 at Memphis. ... Attendance was 15,303.

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