The Portland Trail Blazers concluded a brutal 6-games-in-9-days road trip in Detroit this afternoon. The players had no extended rest, playing late into brutal losses in Boston and Toronto. And it showed, as the Pistons jumped ahead early, leading from buzzer to buzzer in a game that both the Blazers and their fans would prefer to forget.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (26 points), CJ McCollum (22 points) and Al-Farouq Aminu (16 points).
In the opening minutes, the Blazers looked like a team that was ready to be off the road. Detroit's big men dominated inside for an early 10-4 lead, then 16-7. Al-Farouq Aminu personally kept the Blazers close, hitting three 3-pointers to keep the deficit in single-digits. For a while. However, Damian Lillard finished the quarter shooting 1-4 for 2 points with 4 turnovers and a foul that gave the Pistons a three-point play just before the buzzer. This was a forgettable quarter for Blazer fans.
End of the first: Detroit 30, Portland 16
Less than two minutes into the second quarter, Detroit had easily pulled ahead 35-18. But just when all looked lost, CJ McCollum arrived. As the Pistons slowed down, he scored 15 points in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Lillard slowly found points, from the free throw or three-point line. In a game that could have easily turned into a blowout, the Blazers cut the deficit to as little as four, keeping it in single-digits at the half.
Halftime: Detroit 58, Portland 51
All the work the Blazers did before halftime was erased in just three minutes. Detroit scored the first seven points of the third quarter to restore a 15 point lead. The lead ping-ponged through the quarter, with McCollum helping pull Portland into single digits, then Detroit taking advantage of the Blazers' mistakes to push ahead into the teens again. Much like the game in Portland, the Blazers couldn't keep track of Reggie Jackson, and he torched them in response. Nonetheless, the Blazers did just enough to stay within reach entering the fourth quarter.
End of the third: Detroit 85, Portland 75
Gerald Henderson personally does his best to keep the game from getting away. But every time the Blazers made any kind of push, Detroit had a response waiting. By the midpoint of the quarter, Portland was still down 15 points. Soon, the deficit was 20, and it was time for Chris Kaman to make an appearance.
The Blazers fly home for only one day of rest to prepare for the Washington Wizards' arrival Tuesday night. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge for full analysis of today's game from Dave Deckard.