Team Records: Portland (20-4) at Detroit (11-13)
Game Info: 3 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -3
Refs: Ken Mauer, Dick Bavetta, Eric Lewis
The Skinny: Following a historic romp over the Sixers in Philadelphia Saturday night, the Blazers travel to Detroit as they look to sweep the season series between the two teams. Detroit comes into this game fresh off a narrow win over Brooklyn. Detroit is only 1-8 against the west so far this year, with the lone win coming in Sacramento.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers gutted out a narrow win as Aldridge, Lillard and Lopez led the way. With the win, Portland stretched its home winning streak over Detroit to five.
Projected Pistons Lineup:
PF-Greg Monroe (Georgetown-4th Season)-15 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.3 APG
SF-Josh Smith (Oak Hill Academy (HS)-10th Season) 13.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.5 APG.
C-Andre Drummond (Connecticut-2nd Season)-13.5 PPG, 12.7 RPG, .3 APG
SG-Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia-Rookie)-7.4 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1 APG.
PG-Brandon Jennings (Oak Hill Academy-5th Season)-17.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 7.6 APG.
Player to Watch: Andre Drummond (Pictured at right)-Coming into the 2012 NBA draft, Drummond was the perhaps the biggest questionmark on the board. A player who had talent to burn but was extremely raw, Drummond was seen by most NBA observers as a high-risk, high-reward type of pick. Well Detroit rolled the dice on him and appear to have come up winners. Drummond is a monster on the glass, gobbling up rebounds left and right. Drummond is also a decent shot-blocker as well. However, perhaps the biggest surprise is that Drummond’s offense is a lat farther along than anyone could have hoped. Drummond is shooting 63% from the floor this year, a number that is impressive even if Drummond can’t make anything outside of the paint. Sure Drummond is a horrible free throw shooter (shooting just over 40% this year) but when he’s that good in other places, its a shortcoming you can live with. Drummond looks to be a solid NBA center at worst, and possibly a future defensive player of the year at best.
Did You Know?: Detroit has the youngest starting five in the NBA, with an average age of 23 years, 141 days.
Song of the Day: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye-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: Doubtful-PG Will Bynum (Abductor)
Re-Evaluating the Pistons: Escaping NBA Purgatory
I have long described Detroit as a team stuck in NBA purgatory. Not good enough to make a playoff run, not bad enough to get a really good draft pick. Well through a combination of good picks and some shrewd free-agency acquisitions, the Pistons are back in the playoff hunt. Gone for at least the present is the Detroit teams that would stumble through each season with somewhere between the 8th and 11th worst record in the league. They aren’t a title contender, far from it, but for the Pistons and their fans, making the playoffs alone after years stuck in NBA purgatory would feel like a little piece of NBA heaven.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit Detroit’s points in the paint. Detroit thrives on points in the paint, ranking first in the NBA with 51.2 points in the paint per game. If the Blazers can hold Detroit significantly below that number, they should prevail.
Detroit wins if: They limit Portland’s 3 point makes. In the first meeting between the two teams Portland shot 11-23 from deep. If Detroit wants to win, they will have to hold the Blazers well below those numbers.