AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Antonio Davis can sense it, and
believes opponents can as well. The Toronto Raptors are not playing
to win -- they're playing not to lose.
Clifford Robinson had season-highs with 25 points and 11 rebounds
as the Detroit Pistons pulled away from the Raptors with an 82-74
win Monday night, handing them their 11th straight loss.
The Raptors had numerous small leads, and were never out of it
until being outscored 11-1 in the final 3:32.
"Teams can feel it. They start to relax, and we start to
tighten up a little bit more,'' said Davis, who had 21 points and
eight rebounds. "We have a playoff look on our face. They have a
relaxed look on their face.
"They have the confidence that we're going to make mistakes,
and we end up making them.''
After a few lead changes and ties in the fourth, two defensive
plays put the Pistons ahead for good.
Richard Hamilton stole a pass, was fouled and made two free
throws to put Detroit up 75-73 with 2:23 left. Chauncey Billups
blocked a shot, and put Detroit up by four on a layup with 1:11 to
Robinson's 3-pointer gave the Pistons an 80-74 lead with 47
"Cliff Robinson had a monster game,'' Detroit coach Rick
Wilkens agreed with Davis' assessment that Toronto played not to
lose down the stretch.
"That can happen late in the game, you might get anxious to
make it happen right now,'' Wilkens said. "That's when you have to
be real patient.''
The Raptors have lost 17 of 19 and seven straight on the road
with an injury-plagued lineup. Despite their struggles, Toronto
general manager Glen Grunwald said before the game he was not
contemplating making a coaching change and Wilkens said he was not
worried about his job security.
Wilkens said the latest loss stings more than the others.
"It does because we felt we could get this,'' he said. "For
those 44 minutes, we played pretty good basketball.''
Detroit has won 10 of 13 and is 12 games over .500 for the first
time this season.
"We really needed this before we go on the road for two tough
games,'' Robinson said.
The Pistons, who are a game behind Central Division-leading
Indiana, play Wednesday at Philadelphia and at New Orleans on
Vince Carter, who did not make the trip, missed his 25th game
with an injured right knee.
The Pistons placed center Zeljko Rebraca on the injured
list Monday with an irregular heartbeat, and activated point guard
Pepe Sanchez. ... Toronto lost for the seventh time when playing on
consecutive days. ... There were 11 lead changes and nine ties. ...
The Pistons, the league's top defensive team, held Toronto to 39.5
percent shooting. ... Robinson's last double-double came when he
had 30 points and 10 rebounds on Nov. 26, 2001, in a win at