The Detroit Pistons beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-90, in a game that didn’t look like it was getting to 75 apiece halfway through. Reggie Jackson led the way for the Pistons with 28 points and five assists, Andre Drummond was a rebound away from a 20-20 night with 22 points and 19 rebounds, and Langston Galloway added a quiet (but much-needed) 12 points off the bench for the Pistons. Damian Lillard scored 23 points (on 25 shots) for the Trail Blazers, and Enes Kanter added 20 points for Portland.
Barely before the game started, Detroit pulled Blake Griffin with left knee soreness:
OFFICIAL: Blake Griffin WILL NOT play tonight (left knee).— Johnny Kane (@JohnnyKaneFSD) March 30, 2019
That definitely contributed to the Pistons looking completely lost on offense for the first 12 minutes. Detroit only scored 11 points in the first quarter and 31 by halftime, but managed to stay within arm’s reach of Portland that whole time, thanks to Portland looking equally drained. The Trail Blazers were on the second night of a back-to-back, having played in Atlanta last night, and it showed.
It was 34-31 Portland at halftime. Less than 70 combined points after 24 minutes of NBA basketball!?
That was the lowest point total at the half of an NBA game this season, I am told.— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) March 31, 2019
It felt like I’d been sentenced to re-watch Texas Tech play Michigan, only this time with a stake in the outcome.
Thankfully, in the third quarter, Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond, and Thon Maker came out and gave the Pistons energy. Reggie, in particular, really stepped it up, giving the Pistons the lead on a coast-to-coast drive and dunk that punctuated how good he was feeling. The defense kept the same level of energy and intensity, and the Pistons finally started to see the ball go in, and they just started rolling. Detroit scored more points in the third quarter than they did in the first two, outscoring Portland 35-25 to take a lead they would never give up.
Oh yeah, Detroit also honored the 1989-90 NBA Champion Pistons tonight:
It was great to see the Bad Boys still kicking in Detroit, and as guest after guest spoke on the broadcast, you gleaned a real appreciation for that team and what they were able to accomplish. (I personally also forgot how much of a cut-up John Salley is - does he have a podcast or something where I can get more of him? Guy’s hilarious.)
Back here in 2019, though, every win is important for Detroit this close to the end of the season. Tonight’s win means the Pistons keep pace with the Brooklyn Nets (defeated the Celtics), Orlando Magic (defeated the Pacers), and Miami Heat (defeated the New York Knicks). Detroit’s magic number is down to 5:
Pistons’ magic number is 5.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 31, 2019
Detroit plays the Indiana Pacers Monday night to continue the playoff push.