Damian Lillard and the Trailblazers look to take down the Pistons


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Damian Lillard

The Detroit Pistons enter Portland on Saturday winners of seven of their last ten games. They are 36-34 for the season, sixth in the Eastern Conference. Portland has won their last two and are a half game behind the Rockets for third in the Western Conference. The Trailblazers have a 44-27 record overall and 27-9 at home.

Examining the teams statistically, the Pistons rely heavily on a solid defense that is eighth in the NBA in fewest points allowed. They are among the worst offensive teams in terms of points, but are best in the league at maintaining control of the ball. Detroit is 16th in rebounding and in the bottom third in three-point efficiency, ranked 21st.  Portland can hurt opponents from long range, ranked seventh in three-point percentage and 10th in overall scoring. Rebounding is another strength of the team, ranked third, while in the middle of the pack in scoring defense and turnovers.

Clearly the Trailblazers are lead by the back court combination of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum with Seth Curry providing instant long range offense off the bench. Lillard is averaging 26.3 points and 6.9 assists per game, while McCollum is hitting 38 percent from beyond the arc and drops 21 points per contest.  Curry is one of the top three-point shooters in the league at 45 percent. Jusuf Nurkic, Enes Kanter and Al-Farouq Aminu do the inside work, averaging a combined 25 rebounds per game.

Detroit's offense runs through All-Star Blake Griffin, who is averaging 24.7 points per game. He adds 7.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Andre Drummond is a terror underneath, averaging a league high 15.4 rebounds per game, to go along with 17 points.  Wayne Ellington and Luke Kennard have provided much needed long range shooting, hitting 40 percent from three point range. Reggie Jackson is a solid complimentary scorer who could be troublesome for Portland.

The Pistons are a solid competitive team and are playing well lately. Because of this, they should give Portland a tough game. However, the Trailblazers are excellent at home and have the better overall talent. In a game that will be close until the fourth quarter, Portland should pull away for a victory.

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