Portland to Continue Blazing Play with Payback vs. Pistons

blazers pistons

Matthew Jordan

Friday, March 16, 2018 2:36 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 16, 2018 2:36 PM GMT

The slumping Detroit Pistons aren’t likely to break out of their funk Saturday night when they visit Portland, only the hottest team in the NBA on an 11-game winning streak.

Detroit (30-38, 30-36-2 ATS) at Portland (42-26, 37-26-5 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Trail BlazersBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Busy NBA schedule on Saturday opposite the start of the NCAA Tournament’s second round – we will have all eight individual game previews from the Big Dance here at SBR as well – with 11 games. The last of them is Detroit making its only visit of the season to Portland with a tip of 10 p.m. ET.

The Pistons have won five straight in this series. On Feb. 5, they were 2.5-point favorites and thumped the visiting Trail Blazers 111-91. That’s a bit misleading, though. It was Blake Griffin’s third game with the Pistons and they were playing their best basketball in months the time, likely energized by the deal, which is certainly not the case now.

Frankly, that was one of Detroit’s best games of the season as it had a season-high 36 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field (44-for-88) and 50 percent from deep (15-for-30). Griffin had 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Andre Drummond 17 points and 17 rebounds. He has a double-double in nine straight games against the Trail Blazers. Portland shot only 39.4 percent from the field. Damian Lillard had 20 points and CJ McCollum was held to 14.

The Blazers lead the all-time regular-season series 61-54 and are up 37-19 at home. The home team has covered nine of the past 12.

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Pistons’ Playoff Hopes On Life Support

Detroit’s playoff fate is about sealed in losing 12 of 15, but this current six-game trip through the Western Conference could put a nail in the Pistons’ coffin. It’s off to a lousy but predictable start as the Pistons were bombed Tuesday in Utah and then lost 120-113 in Denver on Thursday -- only a late run made it close -- to fall to 1-16 in their past 17 away from Motown.

Should the team miss the postseason, it’s presumed that ownership will do something with president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, either firing him outright or forcing him to give up his say on personnel and focus on coaching. The Griffin trade put the Pistons all-in on this season and basically tied Van Gundy’s future to Griffin’s.

Portland probably has no postseason worries, but the West is so bunched up after Houston and Golden State that the Blazers could finish anywhere from third to eighth. This concludes a five-game homestand with a very difficult stretch of schedule upcoming: Sunday at Clippers, Tuesday vs. Rockets, March 23 vs. Celtics, March 25 at Thunder and March 27 at Pelicans. The schedule is road-heavy the rest of the way and features only two guaranteed non-playoff foes: Memphis (twice) and Dallas.

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🎥 Highlights from our 11th straight victory 🎥 pic.twitter.com/mFrBN1SjoU

— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 16, 2018
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The Blazers won their NBA-high 11th straight game Thursday (10-1 ATS), 113-105 over Cleveland. McCollum and Lillard combined for 53 points. It’s Portland’s longest winning streak since 11 in a row in 2013 and was its eighth straight win at home. During this streak, the Trail Blazers’ average point differential of 12.1 is the league’s best over the past 11.

This basically is matchup of opposites as the Pistons’ strength is their frontcourt of Griffin and Drummond, while the Blazers’ is the backcourt of Lillard and McCollum. Lillard is fifth in the league in scoring (26.8), leads the NBA in second-half scoring (14.6 ppg) and is one of just four players averaging 26-plus points, 6-plus assists and 4-plus rebounds this season. He’ll get MVP votes but likely finish no better than fourth behind James Harden, Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

Is there any reason not to bet Portland here? It has won 17 of 18 at home (14-3-1 ATS), and the Pistons seem wholly disinterested in the road (1-8 ATS in their past nine). Take the Blazers to make it an even dozen for a Saturday NBA pick.

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