The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (25 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and the red-hot-and-rolling Mo Williams (17 points on 7-9 FG's, 4 assists), with good nights from LaMarcus Aldridge (18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists), Robin Lopez (17 points, 10 rebounds), Nicolas Batum (12 points, 8 assists) and Dorell Wright (11 points). The 34 bench points made a huge difference for the Blazers.
First Quarter: Before the sparse crowd was seated, the Blazers were ahead 11-2, then 18-9 by the first timeout. The Blazers opened hot from downtown, and Detroit had no answers at the other end. After the timeout, Detroit returned the favor with a 10-0 run to take the lead. Mo Williams came alive to keep Detroit from staying ahead. After that, forget the defense, it was full offense ahead as both teams reached 30 points before the buzzer sounded. A last second Freeland offensive rebound and jumper kept the Blazers ahead.
Portland 34, Detroit 30
Our defense consists of the Blazers making threes while Detroit makes two point shots.
Second Quarter: The benches came in. Now, if you're planning to watch this game on DVR later (and if so, why are you checking here??), you can use "the benches came in" as code for "fast forward for five minutes of game time". The one saving grace was the insanely hot shooting of Williams, who started 6-6 in the game. It wasn't much help, as Detroit regained the lead from a terribly sloppy Blazer squad. The starters returned and calmed things down, as Portland kept a slim lead at the half.
Portland 58, Detroit 55
The game against the Pistons is in Portland, but its definitely being played in Motown.
Third Quarter: The Blazers were on fire yet again to start the second half, but Detroit continued to use their inside play to stay close. After simmering all game, tensions between Andre Drummond and Robin Lopez boiled over, causing a double-technical foul. They may have been playing chippy, but it could have just been more sloppiness. Portland took advantage of some poor Piston shooting to push the lead to 8, but settled for a 5 point lead after three thanks to a full-court play clearly drawn up nicely by Blazers coach Terry Stotts.
Portland 83, Detroit 78
[Mike] Rice just called Nic "Chocolate Thunder". That’s gonna stick.
Fourth Quarter: The Pistons stayed close, but the Blazers got help from an unexpected source: Inside play. Offensive rebounding and layups helped the Blazers keep a nice lead through the quarter. And as the clock ticked below five minutes, a beautiful play: Nic passed to the rolling Lopez for a dunk plus the foul. Then, the next time down the court, another moment of beauty: Nic passed to the rolling Lopez, again, and as the Detroit interior defenders focused on Robin, he jumped and passed the ball over their heads to the driving Aldridge for an easy layup. Coach Stotts strikes again, and the Blazers led by 13. Detroit stayed within 6 points with two minutes left. Another Blazer turnover led to a Detroit offensive rebound and layup to cut the lead to 4 with one minute left. The crowd held their breath, but the Blazer defense held, causing a Pistons 24-second violation. The Blazers burned clock, but Lillard turned the ball over, giving Detroit a chance to cut further into the lead with 20 seconds left. But Brandon Jennings rimmed out a layup, and free throws sealed the deal for Portland.
Stay tuned for Dave's Analysis and Ben's Media Row Report. The Blazers are back in action Wednesday, a home rematch against the Phoenix Suns. -- Tim