If the Raptors expect to have any chance of making a legitimate run in the playoffs, Toronto’s supporting players will have to step up and offer consistent help to DeRozan and Lowry.
The duo combined for 58 points against the Pistons, including going a combine 6 for 11 behind the three point line. They hit jumpers, drove past defenders and kicked the ball out to open teammates. In short, they did everything humanly possible to push the Raptors past the Pistons.
DeRozan and Lowry did it all on Sunday while their teammates sat by and played spectators just like the sparse crowd at the Palace of Auburn Hills and the Pistons themselves. Only center Jonas Valanciunas provided a consistent offensive punch to go along with Lowry and Derozan.
Terrance Ross was largely absent, Amir Johnson was nowhere to be found, and the bench, with the exception of Greivis Vasquez, provided no offensive reinforcements whatsoever.
All of this was against the lottery-bound Pistons. Imagine what a performance like this would like against the Brooklyn Nets, who will more than likely be their first round opponent in the playoffs. The Nets have talent from top to bottom and more importantly, have playoff-tested veterans who know how to exploit one dimensional teams like Toronto in the playoffs.
The Raptors cannot depend on herculean efforts from DeRozan and Lowry like they did against the Pistons on Sunday if Toronto expects to be taken seriously in the playoffs. The supporting cast surrounding the dynamic duo is going to have to take their game up a notch.
If not, the Raptors’ stay in the playoffs is going to be a short one.