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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Detroit Pistons Preview

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The Blazers land in Michigan hoping to sweep a quick East Coast swing

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NBA: Detroit Pistons at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (28-18) vs Detroit Pistons (13-33)

After two full days off, the Portland Trail Blazers finish their four-game road trip with a game against the lowly Detroit Pistons. The Pistons currently sit bottom of the Eastern Conference, and while the Blazers should never go into a game complacent, this is a chance for newcomer Norman Powell to get better acquainted with the Blazers’ systems and for Jusuf Nurkic to continue getting back into game shape.

Wednesday, March 31 - 4:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Nassir Little (out)
Pistons injuries: Jahlil Okafor (out); Killian Hayes (out), Rodney McGruder (out), Dennis Smith Jr. (out), Sekou Doumbouya (questionable), Wayne Ellington (doubtful)
SBN Affiliate: Detroit Bad Boys

What To Watch For

  • Powell. All eyes are on Norman Powell as he acclimates into Portland’s roster and schemes. Tonight will be his third appearance in Blazers colors after putting up 22 and 13 points against the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors respectively. Watch for improved cohesion with backcourt teammates Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
  • Derrick Jones Jr. We’re not sure whether it was being relegated to the bench or lining up against the Raptors’ second unit, but Jones Jr. was a livewire on Sunday. His 16 points on seven of nine shooting combined with an increased intensity on defense shone through in the Blazers’ comeback win.
  • Bench scoring. With Jones Jr. and Enes Kanter returning to the bench on Sunday, the Blazers’ reinforced reserve unit posed a bigger offensive threat, putting up 41 points. With Nassir Little still to return, Portland’s much-hyped depth might actually be a real thing as the team looks toward the postseason.

What Others Are Saying

Brady Fred at Detroit Bad Boys discusses the drop off in play from star recruit Jerami Grant who started the season on fire.

“As much as Detroit Pistons fans wanted Jerami Grant’s early season magic to be the true blossoming of a legitimate NBA star, it was wishful thinking. Grant played the best basketball of his career, nay, life, over the first two months of the season. He scored in ways we’d never seen. He took control, wanting the ball in big moments.”

“Grant was miscast as an alpha based on his early-season production. But his struggles since Valentine’s Day aren’t a sign that he’s turning into a pumpkin... it just show that he needs help, and the young Pistons aren’t nearly up to the task yet.”

The Pistons latest addition Hamidou Diallo came to life against the Raptors on Monday, endearing himself to his new fanbase, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“Diallo put on display the elite athleticism that has excited basketball watchers since his AAU exploits made him a five-star recruit who landed at Kentucky for one season but – like a lot of five-stars who wind up at Kentucky and get lost in the wash – saw his prospect status dimmed as he found a niche but didn’t star, averaging 10 points in 25 minutes a game. That’s how he wound up going 45th in the 2018 draft, picked by the same Oklahoma City front office where Weaver was ensconced as No. 2 on the organizational tree.”