Opponent Scouting: Portland Trailblazers (48-27)
Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be hosting the Portland Trailblazers at the LCA. The Blazers are on the second night of back to back, and 3rd game in 4 nights, after beating Atlanta last night, while the Pistons are on one day of rest after beating the Magic.
The Blazers come into this game with the 4th best offensive efficiency and the 16th defensive efficiency in the NBA. They are of course led by the brilliant Damian Lillard, who has defensive issues but is the whole package on offense. Off the dribble bombs, can drive to the hoop, good passer, Lillard is as brilliant as they come.
CJ McCollum is still injured and Jusuf Nurkic destroyed his leg so Lillard is pretty much on his own right now but they do have decent depth. Al-Farouq Aminu is a cagey defender who can do some basic stuff on offense. Enes Kanter is starting and he’s a brute on offense but terrible on defense, Jake Laymen can do a lot of little stuff pretty decently, Maurice Harkless has shot terribly from deep but he’s a long defender.
Rodney Hood has actually been pretty solid for them since he arrived, he’s a solid shooter and can do some stuff with the ball in his hands. Seth Curry is a good shooter and despite coming off the bench he’s typically gotten most of McCollum’s minutes. Evan Turner can handle the ball alright, Zach Collins can shoot.
Even without their second and third best players, Lillard is as good as they come and they are not without depth.
Matchups to watch:
Drummond vs. Kanter: Drummond typically gives Kanter all kinds of issues, Kanter is so terrible defending the pick and roll that Drummond gets a procession of lob dunks, the one thing is that Kanter can get Andre into foul trouble. So if Andre can avoid bad fouls the Pistons should be in good shape.
Pistons vs. Lillard: Lillard is incredible, the Pisotns need to find a way to slow him down.
Blake Griffin vs. Fighting up: He’s slowly started to dig his way out of this slump, hopefully he can continue to do so and be all the way sharp again by the time the playoffs start.
Pistons vs. Putting this away: The Pistons are bordering on a lock for the playoffs given that there’s just 7 games left. Win a couple of games here and they can nearly put it away. Just finish it strong.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Andre is getting lots of lob dunks.
The bench is on point again.
Blake Griffin is doing well against the soft Portland interior
Run for the hills if:
Lillard starts bombing 3s.
Andre picks up a couple of fouls early.
The Pistons go cold from deep.
Opportunities for me to look stupid: