The Blazers looked to be rolling early in the first half, and built a lead as large as 12 points, but Detroit refused to go away behind Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson, who always seem to be having big games in Portland. The Pistons clawed back and even held on to a small lead for a bit before some clutch play from Damian Lillard and Al-Farouq Aminu managed to restore order.
Portland (45-27) remains idle in the Humpty Dumpty standings that are the Western Conference playoff picture, where they currently sit nervously in fourth place behind the Houston Rockets and ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder, both of whom were off today. Only three and a half games separate the Blazers with the San Antonio Spurs for the eighth and final spot - it’s going to be a rat race to the finish over the next 10 games.
Random thoughts and takeaways
Hail to the Chief. Although Lillard did most of the heavy lifting, the Honorable Mention needs to go to Chief tonight, who put up one of his best offensive performances in a Blazer uniform with 22 points - including the game-sealing three-pointer - to go along with 7 boards and a steal. It might not be the sexiest stat line of the season, but Aminu was efficient (8-13 FG) and much of it came when the team needed it most.
Not him again. It’s been more than two years since Jackson last faced Portland, but he didn’t waste much time re-discovering his status as an elite Blazer-Killer. For the uninitiated, Jackson played a big part in sweeping the Blazers back in the ‘16-17 season, and averaged a ridiculous 35 per game in another sweep the year before. He and the Pistons have had Portland’s number ever since he arrived in Detroit - luckily tonight the Blazers managed to come out on top.
The Blazers will play one more game at the Moda Center before embarking on a four game road trip when they host the Brooklyn Nets Monday night at 7 p.m.