Pistons host best team in the Western Conference

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Essentials

  • Teams: Portland Trail Blazers (20-4) at Detroit Pistons (11-13)
  • Date: December 15, 2013
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The team with the second-best record in the league will waltz into the Palace of Auburn of Hills tonight to take on the Detroit Pistons.

The Portland Trail Blazers are tied with the Indiana Pacers for the most wins in the NBA so far this season and trail them by one loss. One might assume their current four-game road trip might set them back a little from Indiana, but that is hardly the case.

Indeed, the Blazers have won 10-of-12 road games and also, they started out their stretch away from home by completely dismantling the Philadelphia 76ers last night. Damian Lillard and company drilled 21 treys and gave Philly a shellacking.

It stands to reason that they will try to reproduce that effort tonight against the Pistons and well, that might not be far fetched. The last time these teams met, Portland nailed 11-of-23 shots from 3-point range. They were able to swing the ball repeatedly all over the floor and create high-percentage looks.

This is the strength of their offense. The Blazers are a bottom-five paint scoring team and yet, they still own the best offense in the Association. Their ability to swing the ball from side-to-side and consistently find the open man is simply too difficult for most teams to defend.

Further exacerbating issues, they have LaMarcus Aldridge. He is one of the most potent scoring forces in the league and should be in the MVP discussion through the early stretch of the schedule.

He is a jump shooting big man, but he also is a very good one. In addition, he will bully smaller interior defenders by backing them down on the block and taking them to the rim.

Quite frankly, very few teams are equipped for what he brings to the table.

On the other side of the ball, one could make an argument that Portland cannot stop the Detroit frontline. In the first head-to-head battle, Greg Monroe got to the spots he wanted on the floor and scored against the Blazers’ players.

Also, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond combined for 27 points and 19 rebounds. Detroit was simply superior inside as evidenced by their 60 points in the paint, but they could not pull out the victory.

Portland combined a solid interior attack with great perimeter shooting to win the ball game. The Pistons will have to negate one of those advantages tonight in order to beat one of the league’s very best teams.

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Tags: Portland Trail Blazers THN-POR

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