Team Records: Detroit (2-3) at Portland (4-2)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -4.5
Refs: Derrick Stafford, John Goble, Mark Lindsay
The Skinny: Following a successful sweep of the home and home against the Kings, the Blazers return home for a short two game home-stand before heading east on the season’s first long road trip. The Pistons are one of the league’s more intriguing teams this season, having seemingly made the jump this offseason from perennial mid-lottery team to possible playoff team with some strong moves. This will be a tough test for the Blazers.
Last Season: The two teams split the season series 1-1, with each winning at home.
Projected Pistons Lineup:
PF-Greg Monroe (Georgetown-4th Season)-17.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 2 APG
SF-Josh Smith (Oak Hill Academy (HS)-10th Season) 18.8 PPG, 7 RPG, 3 APG.
C-Andre Drummond (Connecticut-2nd Season)-9.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, .2 APG
SG-Chauncey Billups (Colorado-17th Season)-6.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.2 APG.
PG-Brandon Jennings (Oak Hill Academy-5th Season)-17.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7 APG.
Player to Watch: Greg Monroe (Pictured at right)-It may have gone unnoticed the last few years largely because he played for a bad and boring Detroit team but Monroe is now a very good player. Monroe is not the most athletic player in the world and so may not have a lot of long-term upside but he makes the most of what he has. He is a great passer for a big man and does a good job at finishing at the rim, although he does have a tendency to get his shot blocked quite often. On defense, he is a very good rebounder but often gets abused by bigger players. However, since they have moved him to power forward that has improved more than a bit. He is one of the keys in Detroit’s resurgence.
Did You Know?: The Pistons are the fourth youngest team in the NBA, with an average age of 25.4 years old, Portland is third at 25.1 years old.
Song of the Day: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder-Detroit has a great history of amazing music. This song is among the best this city has ever produced. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PG CJ McCollum (Foot)
Detroit: Questionable-PF Charlie Villanueva (Shoulder)
Detroit is a team that is still trying to find itself in this young season as they look to move forward and make a playoff run. They feature a very strong front court in Smith, Drummond and Monroe and a solid, if sometimes inconsistent, backcourt with Jennings and the ageless Billups. Detroit isn’t the most efficient offensive team but they get lots of second chance points, and when Josh Smith decides to attack inside rather than taking silly 3 pointers or long jumpers they can be very difficult to stop. On defense they aren’t the best but what they excel at is limiting you to one shot. Getting those second and third chances is the key to beating a Detroit team, that despite an early losing record has not only been in every game they’ve lost but has lost those against Memphis, Indiana and OKC, hardly bad losses. They will be tough for the Blazers to overcome.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They make Detroit shoot outside. Detroit is maybe the worst three point shooting team in the league, making only 29% of their attempts. If they can make Detroit a jump shooting team rather than one that gets much of its points inside, they should win.
Detroit wins if: They win the second chance points battle decisively. Second chance points are Detroit’s bread and butter and if they can do what they usually do, they should get back to .500.