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Portland Makes Pit Stop to Face Pistons

  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Motor City will host the second of three road games for the Portland Trail Blazers (29-24) on Sunday night, when they take on the Detroit Pistons (20-34). Tipoff is scheduled for 3 PM.

    Projected to start for the Trail Blazers are Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dante Cunningham, Wesley Matthews and Andre Miller.

    Portland has won three straight and nine of its last 13, including its most recent 102-96 victory against the Toronto Raptors.

    Aldridge asserted his dominance with a 37-point, 10-rebound outing, while Rudy Fernandez recorded 23 points - all of which came in the first half, when he hit all six of his three-balls. Miller chipped in with 13 points and eight assists, and Cunningham returned from fracturing his right orbit to make three of four attempts for six points and four rebounds in 26 minutes.

    The Trail Blazers made 54.3 percent of their attempts and sank 6-of-9 three-pointers in the first half, but only one long ball fell on eight attempts after halftime.

    In its last four wins, Portland has shot better than 50 percent from the field and averaged 104 points per game. During that same timeframe, Aldridge has produced 34.75 points and 9.75 rebounds and Fernandez has come off the bench for 15.25 points on 11-for-20 shooting from beyond the arc.

    Detroit, on the other hand, was handed its fourth loss in five games with a 106-92 defeat against the Miami Heat.

    The Pistons' leading scorers were reserves, as Austin Daye and Ben Gordon put up 18 and 16 points, respectively. Tayshaun Prince contributed with 11 points, but Detroit couldn't overcome 44-35 rebound and 30-13 fastbreak-point deficits, falling to its 34th overall loss.

    Portland has taken five consecutive meetings against Detroit, including a Nov. 9 matchup, when the Trail Blazers used a season-high 36-point first quarter to jump out early, eventually cruising to a 100-78 win at the Rose Garden.

    Aldridge paced the offense with 19 points and 17 rebounds, as Portland shot 50 percent from the field. Batum posted 17 points, Fernandez added 13 off the bench on 3-for-5 shooting from three-point range and Dante Cunningham tallied 10 as a reserve.

    Rodney Stuckey led the way for Detroit with 17 points, while Daye and Prince finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively.

    The Trail Blazers dominated in nearly ever aspect of the game, forcing 19 Piston turnovers, outrebounding Detroit 45-33 and outscoring the opposition 46-26 in the paint and 27-8 in fastbreak points.

    During the last 11 contests against the Trail Blazers, the Pistons have failed to reach 95 points, last doing so in 2005.

    In last season's series, Miller notched a double-doubles, averaging 10.5 points and 12 assists, while Aldridge has poured in 20.2 points and pulled in 8.8 boards per game in nine meetings with the Pistons.

    Portland shot nearly 48 percent from the floor, including a 34.2 percent mark from three-point land, while holding Detroit to 40.6 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from downtown, as the Trail Blazers outscored the opposition 92-87.

    Marcus Camby and Brandon Roy are listed as questionable, but Greg Oden and Elliot Williams will not play because of knee injuries.

    Sunday's showdown can be seen on Comcast SportsNet with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, while Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey will have the call on 95.5 FM The Game.

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