Damian Lillard’s rare triple-double leads Blazers past Pistons, 110-104

Detroit News

Detroit — Damian Lillard has produced plenty of high-scoring performances this season, so he was an obvious target on the Pistons’ scouting report on Monday night.

Defenses key in on Lillard’s ability to shoot from the perimeter, but the Trail Blazers star put together an all-around game in his second and final meeting against the Pistons this season.

Lillard scored 16 points on four 3-pointers in the first nine minutes of the game, which marked the beginning of another difficult night for the Pistons, who were searching for their first win since Feb. 10. After the first quarter, the Pistons tried to take away Lillard’s 3-pointer by loading up on the perimeter, which caused him to drive inside and either finish at the rim or find his teammates.

In the end, Lillard produced his third career triple-double with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Blazers to an 110-104 victory over the Pistons. The Pistons trailed by as many as 19, but made a valiant run in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to seven points with 1:04 left. However, the comeback was too little, too late and Detroit lost its eight consecutive game − a season-high − and the seventh straight loss to the Blazers.

The Pistons (15-50) made another explosive run in the second quarter to go into halftime trailing by eight thanks to Jaden Ivey, who finished with a double-double of 13 points, five rebounds and a career-high 12 assists.

Isaiah Livers led Detroit in scoring with a season-high 17 points and five rebounds. Cory Joseph had 14 points, five rebounds and four rebounds off the bench. Alec Burks returned from his one-game absence and had 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. James Wiseman, who was a game-time decision due to knee soreness, fouled out with 12 points and seven rebounds. RJ Hampton chipped in 10 points and four rebounds.

BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 110, Pistons 104

Monday’s game against the Blazers was initially scheduled for Tuesday, however, the game had to be rescheduled due to the Pistons’ flight issues in Dallas in February, which caused the NBA to reschedule their postponed game against the Washington Wizards to Tuesday.

Here are a few more observations from Monday’s loss to the Blazers:

Reunion night: The Pistons and Blazers are linked in more ways than just Monday’s meeting. The Blazers’ head coach Chauncey Billups made his return to Detroit, where he became an NBA champion.

Monday’s game marked Grant’s first time playing the Pistons in Little Caesars Arena since he was traded in the offseason. He caught up with his former teammates, including Cade Cunningham, before the game and was treated with a “Welcome Back” graphic during the Blazers’ starting lineup introductions. Grant complemented Lillard’s big night with 23 points and five rebounds.

Kevin Knox II, who was traded to the Blazers by way of the Warriors during the trade deadline, also made his return to Detroit on Monday. Knox has played sparingly in his time in Portland, receiving limited minutes off the bench. He didn’t see the court at all on Monday.

Ivey, the facilitator: Without Hayes on the floor, Ivey assumed the responsibility of making sure his teammates were involved. He did exactly that. The rookie guard made several passes that were on-time and on-target to their recipients. He totaled 10 assists in three quarters and finished with 12. Perhaps most impressive, Ivey finished with just one turnover. If Ivey can continue to serve as a facilitator of this magnitude when Detroit has a fully-healthy roster, it’ll create more opportunities for him when he decides to score.

Shorthanded again: The Pistons played without several key players due to injury, which is becoming a theme during the final quarter of the season. Bojan Bogdanovic was sidelined with bilateral Achilles soreness. Isaiah Stewart missed his fourth consecutive game with right hip soreness. Jalen Duren continued to rehab his bilateral ankle soreness. Killian Hayes was out due to a left hand contusion he suffered against the Cavaliers on Saturday. Rodney McGruder was also held out of the game due to a left ankle sprain.

Detroit suffered another blow to its roster when Hamidou Diallo suffered an apparent leg injury late in the game, which caused him to be helped to the locker room. He could not put nay weight on his leg as he was escorted out of the game. He finished with nine points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Taking care of the ball: After totaling a season-high 24 turnovers in Saturday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Pistons went into their game against the Blazers with an increased effort to take care of the ball. They finished with 16 giveaways, which led to 14 points for the Blazers.


Twitter: @MikeACurtis2

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