Morris Peterson had a playoff career-high 20 points and Alvin Williams scored six of his 15 in the final four minutes as the Raptors evened their Eastern Conference first-round series at two wins apiece with an 89-83 victory over the Pistons.
With its season hanging the balance, Toronto responded with consecutive victories at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors improved to 5-1 in elimination games over the last two seasons and forced a decisive Game Five on Thursday in Detroit.
After dominating the first two games of the series at home, the Pistons have struggled on the road. Detroit has been inept offensively for long stretches and has had trouble stopping Toronto from scoring in key situations.
Much like Game Three, the Raptors took the lead early and did not relinquish it, but the Pistons made a late run for the second straight contest.
Toronto led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter and had a 74-65 cushion with 5:18 to play. But Detroit's Jon Barry nailed a long 3-pointer and, after a runner by Peterson, buried another to make it 76-71 at 4:28.
Jerry Stackhouse made consecutive baskets to bring the Pistons within 80-77 with 2:16 left. But Antonio Davis buried a wide-open jumper off a pick-and-roll 16 seconds later and drew an offensive foul on Stackhouse at the other end.
Williams forced a jumper as the shot clock ran down with just under a minute to go, but Jerome Williams grabbed the offensive rebound and Detroit had to foul.
Alvin Williams buried four consecutive free throws and Chris Childs made 3-of-4 in the final 15 seconds to seal the win for Toronto.
The Pistons showed little composure for a second seed as Barry received a technical foul with 4:10 remaining and Stackhouse committed a flagrant foul with eight seconds to go. As a result, they will be forced to return to the Palace of Auburn Hills.
"You have to give them credit for winning two games when they had to," Pistons forward Clifford Robinson said. "But we worked hard to win home-court advantage and we didn't want it to come to this point, but they still have to come and beat us on our home court."
Keon Clark set playoff career highs with 19 points and 16 rebounds and Antonio Davis added 10 and five for the Raptors, who are trying to become the sixth team to rally from an 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-five series.
"It's good to be the underdogs," Clark said. "They are going home and they should have confidence, but we also have a lot of confidence right now. We just have to keep on playing our basketball, which is hard team basketball."
"We found ways to do it again," Davis added. "We've been playing every game like it's our last, so it will be no different in Game Five. We know what we're capable of, so we just need to do it again."
Chucky Atkins scored 20 points to lead the Pistons, who shot just 38 percent (28-of-73) and committed 16 turnovers leading to 22 points for the Raptors.
After a dominant performance in Game Two, Stackhouse struggled for the second straight contest. He scored 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting and committed five turnovers.
"We won at home, they came and won two at home, so now this is what we won 50 games and our division for -- an opportunity to be in the position that when it comes down to a Game Five situation, it should be in our favor," Stackhouse said.
Corliss Williamson had 14 points and eight rebounds and fellow reserve Barry added 12. Robinson had 11 points and six assists and Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace collected 12 rebounds and two blocks but missed all six of his shots.
Stackhouse scored seven points in the first six minutes as the Pistons jumped out to a 13-5 lead, but the Raptors scored 12 of the next 17 points to take the lead and the teams were tied entering the second period.
"We had a good start with a good lead with good tempo," Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "Then we had a lull in our shot-making. Our missed shots turned into transition opportunities, and that ruined our game."
Detroit took the lead for good when Davis opened the second quarter with a hook shot to spark a 10-0 run. Childs, who had nine points and five assists, capped the burst with a three-point play to give Toronto a 33-23 cushion with 6:41 left.
The Raptors had a 46-36 halftime advantage led by Clark, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds in the first 24 minutes.
"I just shot and I was feeling good, so I just kept shooting until I missed," Clark said. "I had the spark and everybody rolled off of me."
Toronto had their largest lead, 57-43, after Peterson made a driving layup with 7:43 left in the third quarter.