Game Tips at 6:00 P.M. EST
Portland Trail Blazers: 29-24 (11-17 road)
Detroit Pistons: 20-34 (13-13 home)
Even without Brandon Roy, Marcus Camby and Greg Oden, the Blazers are better than a .500 team, thanks mostly to LaMarcus Aldrige. Pistons fans should be well familiar with what LMA is capable of, having averaged some of his best performances against Detroit in 9 career games. He's been indefensible against the Pistons and tonight is likely to be no different, as Alridge is averaging 29 and 10 with 2 steals and 2 blocks in February.
Sure, Andre Miller and Wesley Matthews (what up Tas Melas!) have been their own kind of nasty lately, proving that Portland is not a one man show. They've got enough offensive firepower and a solid defensive identity to give just about any team trouble, even though they're pretty severely choked with injuries. This will be a tough game for Detroit, but every home game against any team other than the Miami Heat should be seen as potentially winnable.
How to Win This Game:
We're running behind, so I'm gonna do some copyin' and pastin' since these points remain relevant tonight:
Move the Ball, Feed the Moose: The better the Pistons move the ball, the better the team plays. So do that. Look for the open man, the outlet pass, cuts to the basket and pick-and-roll opportunities. Speaking of which, let's feed the damned ball to Monroe in the post. Tayshaun Prince is leading this team in field goal attempts for the first time in his career, and I'd rather a few of those attempts go to Monroe. It's not like Prince is going to be a Piston next season. Monroe is. It's time that the world feared
the Monroad Warrior Monrobocop. (more on this to come in its own independent post, Pistons fans... keep your eyes peeled next week in a few days)
Try to Do Something About Aldridge: Or don't. I don't know. Nothing we've ever tried has really contained him, he just seems to make 20-footers at will when he's not crushing it in this post. Maybe this is the game where we let Aldridge get his and focus on containing ball movement. Or maybe we try to force foul trouble with dribble penetration. I don't know. Something.
Pick Up the Pace: Portland doesn't hold their opponent to a remarkable field goal percentage, but their opponents don't rack up many points thanks to a slow pace. We've got the personnel to get out and run, so doing so tonight might be fun to watch. Statistically, our rookie happens to be one of the top bigs in the L on fast breaks, we should explore this, yes?
Question of the Game:
Three times in the last six games, Aldridge has scored 37 or more points. He's always dominated the Pistons. Will tonight be another big number or will Detroit actually find something that works on the big fella?
Edgy Links for Edgy Folks: