Game tips at 7:30 pm ET (note: NBA League Pass is Offering a Free Trial through January 24)
Detroit Pistons: 15-27 (11-10 home, -4.8 margin)
Portland Trailblazers: 26-18 (10-11 road, +3.3 margin)
Tonight's matchup features two teams coming off of heartbreaking losses. Portland suffered an OT loss when Juwan Howard more or less kicked the ball up to Ray Allen for three to put Boston up by one. The Pistons suffered an embarassment at the hands of a mediocre Pacers squad.
Both were reflexive of the ills plaguing each team. Portland, which has lost Greg Oden and Joel Pxczhsdba for the season to knee injuries, is relying on LaMarcus Aldridge for toughness up front, and it shows. Their offensive rebounding rate, the centerpiece of last year's offense, has dipped to 4th in the NBA, and continues to decline.
To add insult to injury (or, really, injury to insult), Brandon Roy will have plasma injected into his shoulder (it's all the rage). Shoulder injuries tend to heal nicely in the long run, but players have a tendency to return to action from them too quickly, which can cost them their entire season.
Pistons Retro Moment
Gotta go with Vinnie Johnson's 007.
Keys for Detroit
Mind the outside game - One thing that hasn't changed is Portland's ability to hit from outside. Their percentage is down from last year, but this accords with what's happening around the league.
Feed it to Charlie V. inside- I've got a feeling I can just cut and paste this one for the rest of the season. In particular, I don't think Aldridge can hang with him.
Find the offensive weapon - Charlie V. and Stuckey combined for a 4-22 performance last night. At a certain point, it's time to find other options, though that's easier said than done with a shortened bench.
Question of the Game
I'll go with the old standby. Who will be suiting up tonight? Jerryd Bayless might be out for the Blazers, while everyone on the entire Pistons team might be as well. I'm looking forward to a starting lineup of Atkins-Daye-Summers-Jerebko-Kwame, how about you?
Step away from the cliff for a moment and visit Blazersedge.