Trail Blazers-Pistons Preview
It's been over three weeks since the woeful Detroit Pistons last tasted victory.
They could be in for another long night with the surging Portland Trail Blazers coming to town.
The Pistons try to avoid a 13th consecutive loss and 10th in 12 meetings against the Blazers, who go for a 14th victory in 15 games Tuesday night.
Detroit (3-18) is on the verge of its longest skid since also dropping 13 in a row Dec. 15-Jan. 11, 2010, and it's lost nine in a row at home for the first time since a 10-game slide Dec. 21-Jan. 31, 1994.
The Pistons are coming off Sunday's 96-94 loss to Oklahoma City, letting their third consecutive winnable game slip away. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 19 points for Detroit, which suffered overtime losses to Boston and Philadelphia in its previous two games.
Detroit mostly played well aside from getting outscored 29-20 in the third quarter.
"We don't have enough margin for error to play 36, 38, 40 minutes," coach Stan Van Gundy told the team's official website. "That's not going to get it done. We've got to get closer to 48."
The Pistons were outrebounded 50-39, including 16-8 on the offensive glass, and allowed the Thunder to score almost half of their points in the paint.
"We have to do a better job collectively on the defensive end," said Josh Smith, who missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. "We can't let people penetrate our lane and need to be balanced on the defensive end."
The Pistons almost avoided a third straight loss in this series last Dec. 15, but visiting Portland escaped with a 111-109 victory thanks to Damian Lillard's jumper with one-tenth of a second left in OT.
LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 28.2 points over a six-game stretch against the Pistons, and Lillard averaged 24.0 in last season's two meetings.
Aldridge led the way with 24 points and 11 rebounds in Sunday's 103-99 win at New York. He scored six of the team's final seven points to help Portland (16-4) regroup after blowing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"He does that often," coach Terry Stotts. "He's a stabilizing influence at the offensive end. We have a lot of ways we can score, but when things are going a little sideways we usually rely on him."
Aldridge has put together a season-best five consecutive double-doubles while averaging 25.2 points and 12.0 boards.
Lillard scored 20 against the Knicks but shot 5 of 16 in his first game since suffering two sprained fingers. He's gone 6 of 31 from 3-point range over the last five games.
Portland, which opened a five-game trip Sunday, is averaging 108.5 points during a six-game winning streak away from home.
"We don't mind being on the road," Aldridge said. "We enjoy basketball. We're so close and our chemistry is so good where it doesn't matter if we're home or on the road."
The Blazers have allowed 91.8 points per game in going 9-0 against Eastern Conference opponents. They are an NBA-best 32-7 in such games since the start of 2013-14.
Detroit is 1-9 against the West this season.
Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, averaging 14.2 points, has scored a combined 15 over the last three games while shooting 5 of 27. However, he's averaged 24.3 points in four matchups against Portland over the previous two seasons for his second-highest mark against any team during that time.