Team Records: Detroit (23-44) at Portland (30-34)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.
Vegas Line: Portland -10.5
The Skinny: Following the Felton revenge/return game on Thursday, the Blazers conclude their homestand against the once-again lottery-bound Pistons. Detroit comes into this game riding a seven-game losing streak. Detroit has lost the last four games between the two teams in Portland. Detroit coach Lawrence Frank is away from the team attending to a personal matter and Assistant Coach Brian Hill is the acting head coach Saturday.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers came out flat and never got it going, falling to a Pistons team that just happened to be slightly more active than they were.
Projected Pistons Lineup:
PF-Jason Maxiell (Cincinnatti-8th Season) 6.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, .7 APG.
SG-Kyle Singler (Duke-Rookie)-8.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1 APG.
C-Greg Monroe (Georgetown-3rd Season)-15.9 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.3 APG
SG-Rodney Stuckey (Eastern Washington-6th Season)-10.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.4 APG.
PG-Jose Calderon (Spain-8th Season)-11 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 7.4 APG.
Player to Watch: Jose Calderon (Pictured at right)-It would probably surprise you to know that, while in Toronto this year, Jose Calderon recorded multiple triple doubles, joining a group of only seven players to do so this season. Perhaps because he has toiled his career away in a city that cares far more about hockey than basketball (even though the Maple Leafs have hardly been more successful than the Raptors), Calderon has flown under the radar. An excellent shooter and a great passer, Calderon is a force on the offensive end. While his defense is, in a word, poor, it is a small price to pay for a solid starting PG like Calderon. Hopefully he finally gets the respect he deserves in Detroit.
Did You Know?: Aldridge averages 22.9 points per game versus Detroit, the highest career average for him vs. any opponent.
Song of the Day: “Dancin’ in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas-One of the best Motown songs of all time. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles), SF Sasha Pavlovic (Quad), SF Victor Claver (Ankle).
Detroit: Out-C Andre Drummond (Back), Questionable-PG Brandon Knight (Knee).
Re-Evaluating Detroit: Stuck in Neutral
The way the NBA works, you expect that over time, if you are bad enough you will get good players in the draft and rebuild successfully so you can at least contend for a playoff spot. Yet what happens if you are merely kind of bad, not close to the playoffs but not bad enough to get top pick. That is what has happened to Detroit. They get mid-lottery picks and they kind of work but they never seem to really move forward. For their sake hopefully they will be able to build around their solid young core and escape their current predicament.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. Detroit is an awful team. If the Blazers are focused, they should be able to win this one fairly easily.
Detroit wins if: They make lots of threes. When Detroit has won this year, they have gotten hot from deep. They will have to do so again to have any hope Saturday.