The Toronto Raptors grew fairly hot following the Rudy Gay trade but have rapidly faded fast since. To compound matters, it saddled Toronto with $37 million in contract money due to Gay after this season.
They would, however, reap some benefit from the deal Friday night as Gay outperformed Jose Calderon, one of the players sent off in the January six-team deal that acquired Gay, as the Raptors snapped a five-game losing streak in beating the Detroit Pistons. The 99-82 Raptors win puts the team at 4-10 for the month of March after posting a 7-5 mark in February, the initial weeks following the headline-grabbing trade.
“Like I told the team this morning, it’s not even been a month (since) we were 3 ½ games out, or whatever it was, and everybody was talking about Toronto Raptors,” Raptors Coach Dwane Casey said earlier on Friday, via the Toronto Star. “We have to get back to that level of play where we have the respect of the league — everybody was talking about us — and get everybody talking about that Toronto Raptors team being an up-and-coming team for next year. We have to get the respect back that we had at that point, and that wasn’t that long ago.”
Toronto (27-45) currently sits 8.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and are all but mathematically eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff race with 10 games remaining.
In the contest, Gay scored 21 points in shooting 50 percent from the field — he had been shooting 40.3 percent since joining the Raptors. This somewhat outdid Pistons point guard Calderon’s eights points on 3-for-7 from the field with a 7-3 assists-turnover ratio.