TORONTO (AP) -Raptors point guard T.J. Ford returned to the starting lineup Wednesday for the first time since a Dec. 11 fall at Atlanta that sidelined him for 24 games.
Ford, averaging 11.8 points an 5.7 assists, replaces Jose Calderon. Ford has been coming off the bench since returning Feb. 4 at Miami.
Center Rasho Nesterovic also replaced Andrea Bargnani in the lineup for Toronto's game against Detroit. The Raptors have lost 11 of 14 to drop from fifth to seventh in the Eastern Conference.
``The way it was going, it wasn't working,'' coach Sam Mitchell said.
Calderon has started the past 48 games and was averaging 12.2 points and 8.4 assists overall. With Toronto struggling, Calderon told Mitchell he was willing to let Ford return to the starter's role.
``It doesn't tell me that Jose doesn't want to play or doesn't want to start,'' Mitchell said. ``It tells me that, with 12 games to go, he understands we've got to do something.''
Ford praised Calderon for his willingness to make the change.
``This is the time you try to search, try to find some type of momentum, something that works,'' Ford said. ``I think this is what this is all about. We have to get ourselves out of this hole.''
The Pistons were without leading scorer Richard Hamilton (sore left hip) for the second consecutive game. Hamilton, who is averaging 17.7 points, was replaced by Arron Afflalo.
Guard Juan Dixon (sore left calf) also sat out for Detroit.

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