Nicolas Batum got the start for an injured Gerald Wallace in Portland's disheartening loss to the Pistons. Photo courtesy of the AP.

Game 16 Recap: Blazers 91, Pistons 94


I won’t waste too much time on this one. First off, it’s Saturday night, and I don’t recommend that anybody waste a perfectly good Saturday night reading about a perfectly bad Portland loss. Secondly, this loss was like all the losses on this road trip, and to an extent like all the games on this road trip, it came down to the Blazers’ inability to execute.

Plain and simple, nine times out of 10 Portland beats Detroit. They have the advantage at every position, they have a deeper bench, basically they’re just better. That one time the Pistons win because they take advantage of their opportunities.

Saturday, Portland let Detroit build a lead, a lead that ballooned to nearly 20, and then did just enough right to not lose. The Pistons had some pretty good stretches, especially during a second quarter where they outscored the Blazers by 12. A few guys that you don’t expect to consistently deliver on offense, Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Stuckey, came up big, Greg Monroe grabbed a couple of key offensive rebounds, and down the stretch Detroit never let Portland get the game tied or take the lead. When you give up a huge lead, but still win, keeping that last one-point advantage up there on the board is paramount.

And that’s why it’s so hard to win when getting down big on the road. The trailing team has to play basically perfect basketball to get within striking distance. The leading team just doesn’t have to miss every single shot. Portland ended up having to work very hard just to get back in the game. The last night of a six-game road trip isn’t the best night to have to come with extra energy, especially when your opponent hasn’t won any meaningful games all season, you’re expecting to get the win, and they’re guessing you’ve already moved on to the next game.

So 3-3 would have been nice, but Portland will have to take 2-4. It will be a long play ride home. Sacramento is next, they got absolutely trounced by Memphis Saturday, and is exactly the kind of team the Blazers have not been able to deal with in the last few weeks. They’ll have the advantage of being at home. Hopefully that will help.

Like I said, I’m keeping it short, enjoy your weekend, try to forget about losing to the worst team in the league in a basically empty arena.

Couple of quick things:

  • Gerald Wallace sat out Saturday with an injured finger. He’s struggled on the road, but clearly Portland is better with him on the court than without him. Gerald was in uniform, and could have played. I guess you can take the loss if it means he’ll be healthy for the next one.
  • When Portland misses threes they really miss threes. The Blazers shot 3-of-20 from deep. One or two more going down, and Portland would have been victorious. Everybody missed from behind the arc, but Nicolas Batum (1-of-7) and Wesley Matthews (1-of-5) led the way.
  • Rodney Stuckey wasn’t even supposed to play, strained groin, but he had himself a pretty nice night. The Eastern Washington alum went 8-of-15 from the field for 28 points, and added four rebounds and five assists.
  • Raymond Felton’s numbers were good: 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting, nine assists, and only two turnovers.
  • Minutes watch: 18:16 for Craig Smith. Again, solid first shift from Rhino: 4-of-7 from the field 2-of-2 from the line, 10 points. Earning his minutes. Now if only Portland could win.

Box Score

Standings

Life on Dumars

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Twitter: @mikeacker | @ripcityproject

Tags: Blazers Gerald Wallace Nicolas Batum Pistons Rodney Stuckey