Team Records: Portland (16-4) at Detroit (3-18)
Game Info: 4:30 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -7.5
Refs: David Jones, Kane Fitzgerald, Dedric Taylor
The Skinny: The Blazers look to continue their recent run of success against the woeful Pistons, who have lost 12 games in a row. The Pistons have not won since a win at the then-shorthanded Thunder on November 14. Its not like they’ve been getting blown out either, as many of their losses during their long losing streak have been close, and at least winnable, for much of the game.
Last Season: The Blazers swept Detroit 2-0. Portland has won four of the last six meetings between the two teams.
Projected Pistons Lineup:
PF-Josh Smith (Oak Hill Academy (HS)-11th Season)-13.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.9 APG.
SF-Kyle Singler (Duke-3rd Season)-7.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1 APG.
C-Andre Drummond (Connecticut-3rd Season)-11.4 PPG, 11.7 RPG, .3 APG
SG-Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia-2nd Season)-12.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.1 APG.
PG-Brandon Jennings (Oak Hill Academy-6th Season)-14.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 6.2 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. Drummond’s offense has taken a step back this year, shooting 12% worse from the field than he did last year and, as a result, seeing his PER tumble six points. Although he is shooting FTs decently, for him, this year, up to 46% from the line (career FT% is only 41%). Still, at worst, Drummond is already one of the top defensive big men in the NBA today.
Did You Know?: The Pistons are only two losses away from tying the franchises’s record worst losing streak at 14. This has been done twice before, the last was in Isaiah Thomas’s final season with the team.
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 (Finger)
Detroit: Out-SG Jodie Meeks (Back)
Perhaps it should have been a sign that it wasn’t Detroit’s year when, with about an 83% chance of retaining their pick, they lost it to the Hornets as Cleveland’s jump to #1 moved them past the Pistons. Detroit appeared to recover from that but then key new free agent pickup Jodie Meeks got hurt. From there, it just all went horribly horribly wrong. Detroit is 29th in offense, ahead of only the Sxiers, whom they just lost to a few days ago. The Pistons have not hit 100 points in regulation in any game this year, topping the century mark only in two OT losses and don’t have any consistent success from anywhere on the court. On defense the story is not much better. Detroit seems to be the team that everyone has a surprisingly good night against. They are reasonably good at shot blocking but beyond that their defense, like much of their team, plays more like individuals who happen to be wearing the same uniform than any coherent group. Bottom line, its not that the Pistons completely lack talent, but that they are far less than the sum of their parts.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They don’t let Detroit think they can win. Losing is something the Pistons are used to nowadays. If the Blazers can bury them early, the Pistons will likely give up and allow the Blazers to roll to an easy win.
Detroit wins if: They hold Portland under 90 points. Detroit is an awful offensive team. If they can’t hold Portland under 90, they have next to no shot of winning.