The Portland Trail Blazers got their second straight win in as many days as they took down the Detroit Pistons 110-104 on Monday night. The victory comes just one day after defeating the Orlando Magic, bringing the Blazers to 2-1 on their current road trip.
Portland was led by the 31 of Damian Lillard and 26 from Jerami Grant.
The Pistons had a balanced scoring attack, led by Isaiah Livers with 17 points. Behind him Cory Joseph had 14, and Jaden Ivey and Alec Burks both chipped in with 13.
If you missed the game, check out our quarter-by-quarter recap here
Now for some observations from tonight’s win:
It is easy to become desensitized to just how amazing Lillard has been recently. Tonight he recorded just the third triple-double of his career tonight. This was also the quickest of his career, as he got it with just over three minutes left in the third quarter with just over 25 minutes played. Lillard set the tone with 16 points in the first quarter to help the Blazers jump out to a big lead, before stepping back and facilitating for everyone else on the team on his way to 12 assists. His 13 rebounds marked a season high. This was also Lillard’s 26th straight 20 point game.
The Blazers made 15 three-pointers on just 33 attempts, good for 46% from deep. Six of those came from Damian Lillard, but Jerami Grant and Cam Reddish added four and three respectively. The Blazers used the drive and kick offense over and over again. It led to quality shots from deep almost every time. An efficient night from three leads to wins more often than not in the NBA, and tonight was no exception for the Blazers.
The Blazers shot just under their season average of 34.8 attempts per game, but the efficiency on those shots provided their advantage tonight.
The Defense Comes Together
The Blazers finally showed what they can do on the defensive side of the ball, and all it took was playing the team with the worst record in the league. The Blazers held the Pistons to just 104 points, the lowest total allowed since they gave up 101 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a loss on December 21st.
There were some promising signs from the Blazers’ defense nonetheless. They had seven steals and six blocks. They forced 16 total turnovers and held the Pistons to just 31% from distance. Of course there is more work to be done on defense going forward, and getting healthy will help that goal, but tonight was a showing of what could be.
A Near Collapse
The Blazers looked to be in control for almost all of tonight’s contest. However, they got outscored 30-21 in the fourth quarter and almost allowed the Pistons to steal the game late. Lillard had to play almost all of the final frame.
The Blazers came into the final quarter with just four turnovers, but it was a whole different story after. They had seven in the final frame alone. That allowed the Pistons to get an extra 11 points off turnovers in the quarter. Luckily the Blazers were able to hold on late in the game with some clutch shots.
Damian Lillard had a season high 13 rebounds tonight, but the Blazers still got outrebounded 52-38. Their inability to keep Detroit off of the offensive glass proved to be a weakness. They allowed 16 offensive rebounds and 14 second chance points. The Blazers shot much more efficiently than the Pistons, especially from deep, but that advantage was all but mitigated as they allowed the Pistons to field their own misses time and time again throughout the contest.
With Jusuf Nurkic and Justise Winslow both sidelined, rebounding was always going to be difficult against a bigger club. The Blazers were able to overcome the rebounding difference thanks to Lillard’s rebounding and being able to make up lost points with threes on the other end.
Beat on the Break
The Pistons scored 22 points on the fast break tonight, compared to just one from the Blazers. Detroit is the second-youngest team in the league and they played like it tonight. They forced live-ball turnovers which led to easy points, but they also ran off of missed shots. The Pistons sped up the Blazers all night and used the advantage to score points without having to face a set defense.
The Blazers, on the other hand, played offense almost exclusively in the halfcourt. Luckily there were times where even a set Pistons defense gave way to fast break quality looks.
The Blazers are back in action Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics for game four of their six game road trip. That game tips at 4:30 PM, Pacific.