(Sports Network) - Their postseason lives may be on a resuscitator, but that
won't stop the Portland Trail Blazers from pressing on.
Portland, which is 3 1/2 games off the final playoff spot in the Western
Conference, will close out a three-game homestand Saturday night versus the
struggling Detroit Pistons. Now would not be the time for the Blazers to lay
an egg against a Pistons team that has dropped seven straight.
The Blazers trail the Los Angeles Lakers for that final postseason berth, but
the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks also stand between them and the playoffs.
The Blazers have won four of seven games and ended a two-game losing streak
with Thursday's easy 105-90 victory over a depleted New York Knicks team that
played without Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire. Blazers
rookie Damian Lillard led the way with 26 points and 10 assists, while
LaMarcus Aldridge recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Nicolas Batum had 16 points and J.J. Hickson finished with 12 and a game-high
16 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who shot 51.3 percent for the game and
defended the perimeter well, holding New York to 7-of-25 shooting from 3-point
"Every game is very important right now," Aldridge said.
Portland outscored the Knicks, 56-32, in the middle quarters in ran its record
in the Rose City to 21-11. After entertaining the Pistons, Portland, which is
4-2 in its last six home games, will embark on a five-game road trip through
Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Chicago, Atlanta and Oklahoma City.
Lillard leads all rookies in scoring (19.1 ppg) and assists (6.5 apg), and
Hickson registered his 36th double-double of the season. Hickson leads the
Blazers with 10.7 rebounds and has nine double-doubles since Feb. 19 (11
Detroit has dropped seven in a row and 10 of its last 11 games, including
Wednesday's 105-97 setback at Golden State.
The Pistons, who will wrap up a four-game western trek (0-3) Saturday, were
paced by Rodney Stuckey's 22 points and Kyle Singler added 17. Greg Monroe
netted 13 points, but shot just 4-of-16 from the field.
"Shooting 4-for-16 can't happen for me. It's not like I'm shooting a lot of
jump shots or chucking up threes. I have to do a better job than that," said
For how poorly the Pistons have played recently, they are still first in the
Eastern Conference and fourth in the NBA in points in the paint per game with
45.7. Unfortunately, the Pistons have lost at least six straight three times
this season and opened the 2012-13 campaign with a season-worst eight losses
in a row.
Detroit, which owns an 8-24 record away from The Palace, is playing six of
seven games on the road and defeated Portland, 108-101, back on Nov. 26 this
season in Auburn Hills. Brandon Knight scored 26 points and Monroe compiled 20
with 10 rebounds to help Detroit post its second straight win in this series
since losing six in a row.
The Pistons have lost four straight road meetings with Portland.
The Sports Network