Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/12/13
Monday night. November. Game No. 7 in a long, grinding 82-game season against the rebuilding Detroit Pistons. It was a combination of yawn-worthy truths that posed exactly the type of trap for a team looking to sneak into the playoffs. But, in an illustration of what is shaping up to be a trait of this maturing team, the Trail Blazers didn’t sleepwalk through a forgettable loss — they strong-armed their way to a solid 109-103 victory over the Pistons before 18,834 at the Moda Center. “We don’t want to look back at the end of the year, in the middle of April, and say, ‘Man, if we would have won this game, we probably would be in (the playoffs), or we probably would have this (playoff) seed,’” backup forward Dorell Wright said. “So we have to approach every game and really focus on one thing and that’s the playoffs. And if we win every game we’re supposed to win — and I feel like this was a game we were supposed to win — we’ll take care of business when it’s all said and done.” After sweeping a back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings over the weekend, the Blazers (5-2) took care of business and won their third consecutive game by sprinkling a little bit of everything they have to offer. The bench was dynamic and effective, as Mo Williams, Wright and Joel Freeland combined to scored a season-high 34 points in their most productive outing of the season. One game after a forgettable shooting night, Damian Lillard was back to his usual self. There was offense and playmaking up and down the roster, as six players reached double figures in scoring. And, throughout it all, center Robin Lopez played his best and most complete game with the Blazers. With his mother Deborah Ledford visiting Portland and providing a little home cooking and a pair of rugged big men playing on the other bench, Lopez revealed a mix of beast, skill and anger as he recorded a season-high 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Blazers’ most hyped offseason acquisition snatched important rebounds, clogged the lane, showed unexpected touch around the basket and turned in one of the highlights of the game — a powerful one-handed dunk in the face of Rodney Stuckey. “His mom is here — and she’s staying for the rest of the season, man,” LaMarcus Aldridge said, with a big smile on his face. “He was making post moves and diving to the basket, throwing dimes to me. I thought he played with that energy and that level that we need from them. He blocked shots, he rebounded, he scored, he was talking more tonight. I thought his energy was great tonight.”
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