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Pistons vs. Blazers preview: One of the hottest teams and best back courts come to town

The Pistons are back at it after a stinker against the New York Knicks on Saturday night. They play host to one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the last 12 games. It has been overshadowed by the historic play of the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. The Trail Blazers are 9-3 over their last 12, and they have been carried by starting point guard Damian Lillard.

The Portland Trail Blazers were supposed to be near the bottom of the league after a rough off-season where they lost 4 of their 5 starters. Damian Lillard has stepped up and carried the team. This one will be a tough one for the Pistons, but after a bad loss to the Knicks on Saturday night, it is an important one. There are 20 games left, the Pistons are a half a game out of the 8 seed. Every game counts more at this point.

Game Vitals

Where: Palace of Auburn Hills-Auburn Hills, MI

When: Sunday Mar. 6, 2016 at 6 pm EST

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Highly In-depth Analysis

As mentioned earlier, the Blazers are a hot team. They have been carried by their point guard Damian Lillard, but also their breakout starting shooting guard, CJ McCollum. McCollum is the heavy favorite for the NBA's most improved player, and deservedly so.

The Blazers find themselves in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race because of the play of those two. It is going to be a tough task for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson to try to slow them down. Slowing them down will be the key to victory for the Pistons.

The Pistons are coming off a bad loss to the Knicks on Saturday. The team looked flat, and Reggie Jackson shot 3-17. Those are the kinds of games the team needs to win in a tight playoff race.  That loss has increased the importance of this game, as the Pistons have slid back down to 9th after a Chicago Bulls win last night.

Reggie Jackson will need to have a bounce-back game. It was a rough game for him against the Knicks, but he is the engine that makes the Pistons' offense go.

Key Matchup

Damian Lillard vs. Reggie Jackson

Damian Lillard has averaged 32 points over the Blazers' last 12 including two 50 point games. We all remember what happened the last time these two teams faced off. To say Reggie Jackson got the best of Damian Lillard would be an understatement. Reggie Jackson scored 26 points in the 4th quarter on his way to a 40 point game. It was a 13 point 4th quarter comeback for the Pistons. Damian Lillard comes in hot with a chance to take his revenge, while Reggie Jackson is looking to bounce back from a rough game.

Score Prediction

Only because I will be at this game:

Pistons 108, Blazers 104

Projected Lineups

Pistons: Jackson, KCP, Morris, Harris, Drummond

Blazers: Lillard, McCollum, Aminu, Vonleh, Plumlee

Community Question

Both of these teams are in the thick of the playoff race, which team do you think will make it? Blazers? Pistons? Both?