Pistons-Trail Blazers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 15, 2013
Based on their current play and recent history in Portland, the Detroit Pistons likely won't have an easy time trying to earn their first victory in March. Looking to avoid matching a season high with an eighth straight loss, the Pistons will also try to end a four-game road slide against the Trail Blazers on Saturday night. While Detroit (23-44) remains offensively inconsistent, it's allowed 105.7 points and 51.3 percent shooting while going 0-7 this month. Golden State shot 56.9 percent to hand the Pistons their 10th loss in 11 games, 105-97 on Wednesday. Detroit, which started the season 0-8, has three losing streaks of at least six games. Guard Stephen Curry scored inside and out to finish with 31 points and help the Warriors shoot the second-highest percentage against Detroit this season. "It was a lot of ins and outs,'' Pistons guard Will Bynum said, "but defensively we still have to be a whole lot better.'' Hampered by injuries to the likes of starting guard Brandon Knight (ankle) and key reserve Andre Drummond (tailbone), only eight Pistons played. Rodney Stuckey scored 22 while starting in place of Knight, who could miss a second straight game. Center Greg Monroe had 13 and went 4 of 16 from the field. Monroe is shooting 34.6 percent while averaging 13.0 points - 2.9 fewer than his average - in four games since missing one with a sprained ankle. "It's not like I'm shooting a lot of jump shots or chucking up threes," said Monroe, who shoots 48.0 percent - one of the worst marks by a starting center in 2012-13. "I have to do a better job than that. When guys are playing hard and giving it all they got, then I've got to be able to finish." Knight scored 26 and Monroe added 20 with 10 rebounds in a 108-101 home victory over Portland on Nov. 26. The Pistons, however, have averaged 84.0 points and allowed the Trail Blazers to shoot 50.2 percent in the last four at Portland. Detroit is 8-24 away from home, and giving up 110.2 points on 52.9 percent shooting during its current five-game road slide. The Trail Blazers (30-34) have averaged 104.0 and shot 48.1 percent while winning eight of 11 at the Rose Garden. Rookie of the Year contender Damian Lillard had 26 points with 10 assists and LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 with 10 boards in Thursday's 105-90 home win over banged-up New York. Portland stepped up the tempo to close the second quarter on a 13-0 run then kept control while holding the Knicks to 32.6 percent shooting in the second half. "What we were talking about and wanted to do, we were finally able to do it and we saw that it really worked in our favor," Lillard told the Trail Blazers' official website about getting out in the open court en route to shooting 51.3 percent. "I think that was how we were able to keep the lead." Lillard has averaged 24.8 points and shot 54.5 percent while scoring at least 20 in eight straight contests - one shy of the franchise record set by Calvin Natt in 1979-80. However, he was held to 12 on 4-of-18 shooting at Detroit. Playing through ankle and hand issues, Aldridge is averaging 31.0 points on 58.9 percent (33 of 56) shooting in the last three against the Pistons.
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