If the Detroit Pistons were going to make a game of this, their 2021 first overall pick Cade Cunningham was going to have to have a big game.
The only problem with that – and this was most definitely a Pistons problem – was Cunningham spent the bulk of his afternoon under the watchful eye and physical presence of OG Anunoby, which meant the Pistons never really got going in a 142-113 blowout.
Anunoby returned to the Raptors lineup following a three-game absence made necessary when he suffered a gash to the index finger on his right hand while carrying out some household chores.
The cut required stitches and needed time to close over before returning to play.
Anunoby spent the downtime working exclusively with his left hand.
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But his return, which began with a corner three-pointer on his first attempt and ended with just nine points overall, was more about the impact he has defensively for the Raptors than anything else.
Toronto’s defence is decent without Anunoby, but locking down the opponent’s top scorer it is next-level good with him in the lineup.
The Pistons found that out with Anunoby basically limiting Cunningham to 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting and no other Detroit starter even getting into the double digits in scoring.
Toronto’s offence, meanwhile, made mince meat of Detroit’s defence with seven different players getting into the double digits, led by the 23 from Pascal Siakam.
Anunoby, who predictably struggled with his shot following the layoff, was the lone starter not to make it into double digits with those nine points on 2-for-11 shooting.
All of the starters were out of the game with eight minutes to go in the game and a 34-point lead.
Cunningham and the Raptors’ Scottie Barnes were both high picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, Cunningham going first overall to the Pistons and Barnes, of course, going fourth to Toronto.
Both are now considered the face of their respective franchises and they both played like it Sunday afternoon, Barnes doing most of his damage early in a 17-point, seven-rebound, nine-assist afternoon.
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