Monroe scores 24, Pistons beat Raptors 108-98

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 1, 2013 at 10:03 pm •  Published: April 1, 2013
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TORONTO (AP) — A big effort from Detroit's bench ensured a happy ending to Jose Calderon's homecoming party.

Greg Monroe scored 24 points, Calderon had 19 points and nine assists against his former team, and the Pistons snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Raptors 108-98 on Monday night.

Rodney Stuckey scored 18 points, Jonas Jerebko had 15 and rookie Khris Middleton added 11 as the Pistons won for just the third time in 19 games.

Stuckey, Jerebko and Middleton combined for 29 of Detroit's 33 fourth-quarter points.

"That fourth quarter group was tremendous," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "Great ball movement, really good spacing, very unselfish basketball. Each of those guys really, really impacted the game."

Returning to Toronto for the first time since he was traded on Jan. 30, Calderon was honored with a standing ovation during pregame introductions and a special video tribute during a first quarter timeout.

"It felt great," Calderon said. "It's got to be one of the better moments in my career, for sure."

Calderon spent 7 ½ seasons with the Raptors and is the team's career leader in assists (3,770) and free throw percentage (.877).

"I was happy for him because I know how much he loved it here," Frank said. "This wasn't a guy who had anything negative to say about Toronto. He always embraced it and still does."

Calderon's new teammates were eager to get him a victory on his old home court.

"I was playing as hard as I could," Jerebko said. "I wanted to get a win for Jose. The fans here love him. He just wanted to come home and get a win and I'm glad we could help him do that."

Proving that old habits die hard, Calderon mistakenly started walking toward the Raptors' locker room at the half, laughing when he realized his error.

"They called me back really quick," he said. "It was just three or four steps."

Calderon acknowledged that it was "a weird feeling" to play as a visitor in Toronto. He said he'd struggled with his emotions all day, no more so than during his video tribute.

"It was emotional," he said. "No tear was out but I was close."

Rudy Gay scored 34 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 17 and DeMar DeRozan 15 as the Raptors lost for the seventh time in eight games and were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

"It hurts," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "Our goal was to knock on the door and get into the playoffs. A couple of weeks ago we saw that light but it faded when we could not take care of games against Washington, Cleveland and Milwaukee."

Detroit opened the fourth with an 8-2 run, turning a 79-75 deficit into an 83-81 lead and forcing Toronto to call timeout with 9:40 left after a reverse layup by Middleton.