- Teams: Portland Trail Blazers (6-7) at Detroit Pistons (3-11)
- Date: November 26, 2012
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSN
What to look for
The Portland Trail Blazers revolve their entire offense around the exploits of LaMarcus Aldridge; and it’s quite understandable why. The Texas product is a beast on the low block and has a deadly mid-range jump shot that forces opposing big men to come out and defend him on the perimeter where he just always seems to have the advantage.
Mind you, the former All-Star missed the Blazers’ last game due to back troubles and thus his status leading up to game time is uncertain.
This invariably shines the spotlight right onto Portland’s star in the making: Damian Lillard.
Although the comparison isn’t necessarily a perfect one, Lillard is slightly reminiscent of former Blazer guard Damon Stoudamire. Indeed, he plays with supreme confidence against opposing guards, puts the ball on the floor to challenge defenders and loves getting into the lane to finish at the rim or simply fire away from long-range (3-point range or long 2-point shots) either in the pick-and-roll or when he’s decided that he is going to take on his defender one-on-one.
As good as the Weber State product is though, he is somewhat predictable. When looking at his shot locations chart, one thing is abundantly clear: he has little to no mid-range game. Indeed, 87 percent of his field goal attempts are either at the rim or from long distance. It’s a testament to his skill that he’s still been able to put up 19.3 points per game this season on 46.4 percent field goal shooting despite the missing dimensions in his offensive arsenal.
Consequently, his matchup with Brandon Knight promises to be fascinating and entertaining.
Much like Lillard, Knight subscribes to the theory of almost exclusively attempting his shots at the rim as well as from long range and has quite a knack for blowing past defenders to get into the lane where he can create some good scoring chances for himself or his teammates.
If there is one area of concern for both teams tonight with their point guards, it’s their inability to command respect from the officials defensively. Because of their relative inexperience as NBA players, they tend to get whistled for fouls that established veteran players routinely get away with. This is mostly apparent when they defend guards trying to post them up.
In addition, if Aldridge is going to miss this contest, Lawrence Frank might want to borrow the Brooklyn Nets’ defensive game plan and simply trap or hedge hard whenever Lillard runs pick-and-rolls because the added defensive focus on him seems to confuse him and may even cause him to pick up his dribble as he gets indecisive about his options.