In Dwane Casey's return to Toronto last season, the Detroit Pistons won a thriller over the Raptors with a last-second shot from Reggie Bullock.
On Thursday, the Raptors made sure it wouldn't go down to the wire again.
Led by Pascal Siakam, the Raptors defeated the Pistons by a final score of 125-113. Including Siakam, six players scored in double figures for Toronto. Additionally, Fred VanVleet recorded his first double-double of the season, finishing with 13 points and 11 assists.
The Pistons got 21 points and 22 rebounds out of Andre Drummond and 16 points and 10 assists out of Derrick Rose, but it wasn't nearly enough.
For more on the game, here are some takeaways...
Pascal Siakam's star shines bright
30 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals. Siakam did a little bit of everything against the Pistons.
"He's turning into a primetime scorer," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said of Siakam after the game.
Siakam was once again at his best in the third quarter, when the Raptors took complete control of the game. He scored 19 of Toronto's 37 points all by himself, many of which came in spectacular fashion, highlighted by ... whatever this is:
.@pskills43 playin' H.O.R.S.E out here pic.twitter.com/ARZJvjVFCA- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 31, 2019
The quarter as a whole was yet another example of Siakam's evolution into a star. Even though he got off to another quiet start, he flipped a switch and completely took over the third quarter. He was breaking defenders down off the dribble. He was knocking down 3s. He was even pulling up for shots from midrange, which is a part of his game that we basically never saw last season.
According to NBA.com, Siakam made a total of two pull-up jumpers in 2018-19. After Thursday's game, he's now made five this season.
Pascal Siakam has 30 points through three quarters as the Toronto Raptors lead the Detroit Pistons, 101-85. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/acrGqbt5Mc- TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 31, 2019
Siakam's performance sets him up well for Sunday, when the Raptors travel to Milwaukee to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo's Bucks.
OG Anunoby shows up again
As noted by Josh Lewenberg of TSN, it took only 16 minutes for Anunoby to reach double figures scoring against the Pistons. He has now recorded at least 10 points in four of Toronto's five games to start the season.
Why is that noteworthy? Anunoby had 10 such games as a rookie and 15 such games as a sophomore. At this rate, Anunoby will set a new career-high in that regard by the end of next month.
Anunoby finished Thursday's game with 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field and 1-for-2 from 3-point range. He also had eight rebounds, tying his career-high.
He continues to be a bright spot for the Raptors in the early going of this season.
The bench steps up
Another good sign for the Raptors: Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell each scored 19 points off the bench. Ibaka shot 9-for-15 from the field while Powell shot 7-for-10, including 3-for-5 from the 3-point line.
Ibaka has gotten the season off to a solid start, but this was the first time Powell has scored in double figures since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He entered Thursday's game averaging 5.8 points on 30.8 percent shooting from the field on the season.
The only other player to log significant minutes off the bench against the Pistons was Patrick McCaw. Chris Boucher, Terence Davis and Matt Thomas only saw the court once the game was out of reach, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson didn't register a single minute despite being healthy.
Even so, Toronto's bench combined to score 43 points, way up from the 26.8 it averaged in the first four games of the season. The bench is going to be lacking as long as VanVleet is in the starting lineup, but performances like this from Powell in particular will prevent the second unit from being one of the worst in the league as the season goes on.
The short-handed Pistons
It's not a surprise that the Pistons struggled to keep up with the Raptors in this one. They were without Blake Griffin, who missed his fifth-straight game to start the season with knee and hamstring injuries. Detroit was also without Reggie Jackson, who missed his third-straight game due to low back tightness.
Jackson obviously isn't the player Griffin is - Griffin is coming off of a career year in which he made the All-NBA Third Team with averages of 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists - but he was the team's third-leading scorer last season with 15.4 points per game. In his place, the Pistons started Tim Frazier alongside Luke Kennard and Tony Snell in the backcourt. In 21 minutes of play, Frazier scored seven points and dished out four assists.
Griffin's replacement fared much better. Markieff Morris scored 16 points. However, 14 of those points came in the first half, which was the competitive portion of the game.
Neither Morris nor Derrick Rose could get it going in the second half, and - to no surprise - the Pistons struggled to keep it close.
The Bucks host the Raptors on Sunday, Nov. 3.
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