Trail Blazers vs Pistons Monday, 11/26/12 AT 04:30PM

Aldridge Returns But Trail Blazers Still Fall To Pistons

  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    LaMarcus Aldridge was on fire in his return to the line-up, scoring 32 points to along with 10 rebounds for the Trail Blazers (6-8). Unfortunately, his performance wasn't enough as the Trail Blazers fell in Detroit to the Pistons (4-11) 108-101.

    It was extremely nice to have Aldridge back in the line-up in this one. However, it seemed like the rest of the team didn't feed off the return of their All-Star. Nicolas Batum (7 points, 10 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (12 points, 7 assists) both had off nights tonight. They combined to shoot six of 27 (22 percent) from the field. That type of production from your second and third leading scorer is a recipe for a tough night.  Especially when the opposing team is getting quality looks near the rim.

    "We didn't take much away from the things that they do," Stotts said.

    Things got off to a poor start with the Pistons getting up by nine points in the first quarter. Both teams did not score any points in the first two minutes of the game.

    However, Kyle Singler opened up the game for the Pistons. Singler was doing everything early on in the game, scoring six of Detroit's first twelve points as well as grabbing three rebounds. Singler would continue to put pressure on the Trail Blazers by getting boards, knocking down open shots and creating for his teammates. It didn't help matters for Portland that Brandon Knight was also starting to get loose. The Pistons, a team that relies heavily on their center Greg Monroe, was getting the right type of contributions from their perimeter players. Singler finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds to go along with five assists and two steals. Knight led the Pistons with 26 points and Monroe had a double-double of his own with 20 points and 10 boards.

    "Brandon Knight did a nice job with pick and rolls. Got to the rim and made his threes," Stotts said. "Kyle Singler got his open looks. Monroe got to the basket."

    Portland had only scored 19 points in the first quarter and nobody could get it going. However, in the second quarter they got a boost from their bench. Portland's bench play kept them in the game early. They had 20 bench points in the first half with Will Barton (10)  and Meyers Leonard (8) scoring 18 of them.

    Barton would finish with a career-high 12 points. Leonard, who had a great first half against Brooklyn continued to show confidence in his offensive game and even hit a 19-foot jumper. Barton, who has always shown an ability to get to the basket, picked his spots in a more deliberate way tonight. It seemed like Barton was really settling down. The first field goal that he made really set the tone for his night: he was flying down the court but rather than take it to the basket in wild fashion, he stopped on a dime to hit a jumper over Brandon Knight with 7:33 in the second quarter. Barton would hit three more shots after that and go 4-6 for the quarter. The Trail Blazers deficit after the first half was now cut to five. Ronnie Price also made a big contribution off the bench in the first half, notching six assists. The bench and Aldridge were what cut the lead down.

    The third quarter did not start out the right way. Again, the Pistons were led by Singler. It seemed that not just he, but almost every Detroit player was getting into the painted area. The Trail Blazers gave up 56 points in the paint and only scored 36. It also didn't help matters that the Pistons, who aren't a prolific outside shooting team (18th in the NBA in 3P%), shot 60% from beyond the arc. The Pistons were also in the bottom five in three-pointers attempted and made coming into the game.

    "They made their threes, they're not a necessarily a three-point shooting team," said Stotts. "We had two good defensive games in a row and this was a letdown."

    The letdown on defense was not salvaged by their usually productive offense. Their perimeter players did not have great shooting nights and the Trail Blazers were six for 19 from three-point range. Wesley Matthews did have a good night, scoring 19 points on five of 12 shooting. But he was the lone bright spot for the perimeter players Portland counts on so much for their offense. The Trail Blazers showed signs of a comeback after falling behind by as much as 15 multiple times in the final quarter. But, every time the Trail Blazers offense would bring hopes of a comeback they were dashed by the Pistons making timely shots. Unfortunately, Aldridge's monster game and the nice contribution from the bench wasn't enough to offset the bad defense and awful shooting nights from two of their top three scorers.

    The loss puts the Trail Blazers at 0-2 on their seven-game road trip with five games to go. Their next game is on Wednesday in Washington against the winless Wizards (0-12). That game will start at 4PM and will be shown on CSNNW. It can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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