You better start brewing your coffee for this one as the Pistons yearly Western Conference road trip continues. They always seem to have these early in the season, which I guess is good to get it out of the way.
The Pistons will face the Portland Trail Blazers who are losers of three straight games. If you are in the Eastern Time Zone and willing to stay up for this one, I applaud your dedication.
Where: Moda Center in Portland, OR
When: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 10:00 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (+9.5)
The Portland Trail Blazers limp into this game as losers of 3 straight games. They currently sit at a disappointing 10th place in the Western Conference with a 10-11 record. It has largely been due to the early-season struggles of Damian Lillard. He is averaging 21.5 points and 7.8 assists, but he is only shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc.
The Trail Blazers are a team that relies so heavily on their scoring backcourt of Lillard and CJ McCollum, so Lillard’s early-season struggles have had a huge effect on the Blazers and their current record.
The Blazers are in a tough spot with both Lillard and McCollum making a lot of money and not being quite good enough together to be anywhere higher than middle-of-the-pack in the West. The team is restricted on what they can do to fill out the roster and it has hindered their ability to build a fully functional roster around those two.
They did acquire Larry Nance Jr. in an offseason trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is a very solid role player, although he has also gotten off to a bit of a slow start to the season as well.
The main threat off the bench for the Blazers has been Anfernee Simons, who is averaging a career-high 12.6 points per game heading into this game. He plays a smilar role to the Blazers as Frank Jackson does for the Pistons as an undersized guard who comes off the bench and hits shots.
If there is any game on this road trip that the Pistons can win, it is this one. As mentioned above, the Blazers are on a 3 game slide. However, the Pistons have lost 6 straight so they are not in any better of a situation than Portland is. But Portland is the “worst” of the teams the Pistons will face on this road trip. You can argue on the current state of the Lakers, but they have a bit more talent than the Blazers do.
Outside of last season, the Pistons have always played the Blazers tough and have even had their number for the most part over the last 5 years.
For the Pistons, they are looking for Cade Cunningham to show some sign of life after a rough stretch shooting the ball over the last few games. He has also been plagued by turnovers during this stretch, which is the more concerning problem. If there is a game for him to break out of it, it is against the weak defensive backcourt of McCollum and Lillard. Neither player has the size to stop him from shooting over them and neither player is known for their defense. Both players will be a challenge for Cunningham and Killian Hayes on defense, but they shouldn’t have too many issues on offense.
It is difficult to feel confident in the Pistons winning anything with how they are playing and I would be shocked if they actually pull off the win. The Blazers, despite their current struggles, are still a better team.
Portland Trail Blazers (10-11): Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Norm Powell, Robert Covington, Jusuf Nurkic
Detroit Pistons (4-16): Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart
Should the Pistons make a change to their starting lineup or ride things out?