The Detroit Pistons entered the night with four straight losses to the Portland Trail Blazer’s on Portland’s home court. They also entered the night with a season-worst 6-game losing streak, combine their recent struggles with a Blazer’s team that were 9-1 at home this season, and yeah…you can take a guess at how this game played out.
However, three of the young Piston’s core were able to contribute strongly in the box score, providing us with some positives to take out of a tough match up.
In the first quarter, both teams came out struggling to buy a bucket. Prior to the first time out at the 6:50 mark, the two teams shot a combined 6-20 from the field. The difference was the Trail Blazers were able to crash the offensive glass, scoring their first 5 points off second chance points. Coming out of the time out, Detroit would string together some great defensive possessions, allowing them to get out in transition, outscoring the home team 6-0 in fast break points.
After an early turnover, Cade Cunningham put together a nice stretch of play. He had multiple eye-popping defensive possessions on the Portland guards; CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons. Cunningham’s defense played a major role in the Trail Blazer’s starting back court shooting a combined 3-9 from the field in the opening term.
Behind good defense and 8 points from Jerami Grant, Detroit was able to tie up the score at 18 a piece. However, veteran guard Ben McLemore was able to come off the bench and provide the Trail Blazers with a 6-point spurt, helping them take a 27-21 lead into the second quarter.
The Piston bench were able to stabilise the team starting the second quarter effectively by attacking the rim and kicking out to open shooters. Frank Jackson continued his strong play, knocking down a pair of threes and getting to the rim for a nice finish. Detroit’s bench unit was able to eat into the home teams quarter time lead, drawing the margin to 1 point, 30-31.
However, a 4-point play from ex-Piston, Tony Snell, would cap off a 14-4 run by the Trail Blazers, providing them with a game-high 12 point lead, 48-36. After struggling in the first, the dynamic shot creation of Simons and McCollum was on full display, scoring 10 of the 14 points in an important run for the home team. During this stretch, the Detroit offense struggled to generate any scoring against a Portland defense that switched between a man and zone defense.
Detroit and Portland would match baskets to close the half, Cade Cunningham closed the period strong with 3 buckets, scoring 10 points on a perfect 4-4 from the field, thats 100% folks!
It’s no secret that 20 games into the season Detroit are a horrendous third quarter team. Game 21 was no different, with the Piston’s allowing the Blazer’s to start the third quater on a 6-0 run. Jusuf Nurkic was able to impose his will on the smaller Isaiah Stewart, beginning the quarter with 4 points in quick succession and helping the Blazer’s to an early 15-point lead, 65-50.
While a Cunningham chase-down block and Hayes corner three would provide some hope of a Piston comeback;
Portland were able to close out the quarter with a 21-point lead, outscoring the visitors 29-17. Throughout the quarter It felt as though the Blazer’s guards were able to hault any Piston run with a three point shot each time they attempted to cut into the lead. Once again, Ben McLemore was able to provide a scoring spark to close the quarter, he finished the night with his first double-digit scoring game of the year.
Once again, Portland was able to land the first punch to start the fourth quater. A Ben McLemore three pointer put the home ahead 90-64, capping a 7-2 run and forcing an early Detroit time-out. From this point, the game was out of reach and Detroit would never put together a run that would threaten the final result. After starting off slow, CJ McCollum and 14 Portlant three’s were the difference, running out victors over the Pistons, 110-92.
While the result was decided early in the fourth, it was exciting to see Cunningham continue to shoot the ball efficiently, he finished the night with a career-high 26 points on 10-13 (5-7 from deep) from the field. Isaiah Stewart also had a nice night, finishing with his first double-double of the season (15pts/14rebs), hopefully this is the beginning of a solid stretch of games for Stew.
Detroit has now lost 7 games in a row for the first time since the NBA was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March of 2020. The Pistons will close a 5-game road trip Thursday night against the scorching Phoenix Suns, who as of tonight, will enter the game on a 17-game winning streak.
- Killian with 4 free throws attempts tonight, importantly, both were off drives and not when the Pistons were in the ‘bonus’.
- Coach Casey seems to have settled on a closing line up of Hayes, F.Jackson, Cunningham, Grant and Stewart. It’s good to see Casey closing the game with a line-up which provides the team with it’s most efficient offense.
- Saddiq Bey struggled once again, shooting 1-9 from the field. With Frank Jackson stepping his play up as of late, do we see Bey relegated to the bench?