TORONTO, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Detroit Pistons rallied in the fourth quarter to overcome a 16-point margin and squeeze by Toronto Raptors 102-101 in Sunday night's NBA game.
Down 82-66 entering the final quarter, Detroit were on the verge of their 11th loss to Toronto in the last 15 matchups.
Pistons' defence held Toronto to 19 points in the period, including a combined nine points from Raptors All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
Detroit head coach and president Stan Van Gundy was very content with his team's effort in the win.
"I'm really excited about it and I am not the most positive guy in the world sometimes," said Van Gundy after the victory.
"They fought and fought and fought. It wasn't easy, it was just grind it out, get it down to a manageable number," he continued. "Then we got a couple of big stops and a great shot down the stretch. I am really, really happy."
With less than six minutes left in the game, the deficit was trimmed to seven points. With 1:23 remaining, Detroit trailed 101-96. Toronto was held scoreless for the remainder of the game.
A corner three-pointer from guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 13.2 seconds remaining gave Detroit their first lead of the second half and wound up being the game-winning shot.
Prior to taking the shot, Caldwell-Pope was 1-for-11 on three point shots. Despite his struggles earlier in the game, his teammates encouraged him to continue shooting.
"Every time we came out of the huddle, and at half time, everyone was telling me to keep shooting and not get down," Caldwell-Pope told reporters after the game. "I just kept shooting and it had to be the game-winning three."
Also contributing were two of Detroit's second unit players. Guard Ish Smith and forward Tobias Harris entered the game with seven minutes left in the third quarter and played the remainder of the game. The duo combined to score 23 points in the second half and finished with a game-high plus/minus rating of plus-26 each.
"Tobias and Ish were playing really, really well," said Van Gundy. "Those two guys were really kind of fuelling us, especially on the offensive end. So we just stuck with them," he added.
With the win, Detroit improves to 26-29 on the season and have won five of their seven games. The team is currently tied with Chicago Bulls for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
In his third season with the team, Van Gundy is on track to take Pistons to the playoffs for the second straight season.