PORTLAND — The Portland Trail Blazers had several disadvantages going into Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. They were without superstar Damian Lillard, and one of their best role players in Norman Powell. They were also coming off of a 22-point loss to the Utah Jazz Monday night.
It gave the Pistons, coming off of a spirited performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, an opportunity to take advantage of a depleted and tired Western Conference playoff hopeful. Instead, the Blazers coasted to an easy victory.
Detroit was blown out by Portland, 110-92. Other than Cade Cunningham, who finished with a career-high 26 points and only missed three shots, there weren’t many positives for the Pistons. Cunningham also grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots, but turned the ball over six times. Isaiah Stewart added a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Jerami Grant scored 14 points.
Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum led all scorers with 28 points, and Ben McLemore added 17 off the Portland bench.
Cunningham has red-hot scoring night
After suffering through a week-long offensive slump, Cunningham appeared to find his shooting touch during the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Lakers. He scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, knocking down four of his eight shot attempts and three of his six 3-pointers.
Cunningham picked up where he left off against the Blazers, and then some. He hit eight of his first 10 shots, and was automatic on a night where the Pistons couldn’t buy a bucket. His full offensive repertoire was on display. He knocked down 3’s, beat defenders to the rim and even knocked down a hook shot in the post midway through the fourth quarter.
He finished the night making 10 of his 13 shots and five of his seven 3-pointers. It was Cunningham’s first time scoring 20-plus points in more than two weeks, with his last being a career-high 25-points against the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 15. His performance was one of the lone bright spots during an ugly night for Detroit’s offense.
Poor shooting, turnovers doom Pistons
The same issues that have plagued the Pistons all season plagued them again on Tuesday. They’ve been the NBA’s worst-shooting team through the early portion of the season. They made just nine of their 35 attempts (25.7%) against the Blazers. They also committed 18 turnovers, leading to 19 points for Portland.
Cunningham was responsible for about a third of Detroit’s made shots. Outside of Cunningham, the Pistons were 19-for-63 (30.1%) overall. Saddiq Bey (2 points, 1-for-9 shooting) has been in a slump and has missed 23 of 30 total attempts in his last three games.
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