Blazers Look To End Losing Streak To Pistons, Secure First Win Of Three-Game Trip

by Casey Holdahl
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In the first two games of a three-game Eastern Conference road trip, the Portland Trail Blazers were blown out by the Toronto Raptors and beaten by a last second shot versus the Celtics in Boston. They'll try to split the difference while changing the end result in their final game of the trip versus the Detroit Pistons Monday night at Little Caesars Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

The Trail Blazers (29-24) entered their current road trip having won seven of their last eight and four in a row but have been brought back down to earth playing against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference standings.

Portland trailed by as many as 29 points in their loss to the Raptors in a game that saw Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard surpass the 10,000 point mark faster than any player in franchise history.

"We dug ourselves in a hole early and you know against a team as good as them -- probably the best team in the East right now, them and Boston neck and neck -- you can’t do that especially on the road," said Lillard, who finished with 32 points and 10 assists in the losing effort. "We put ourselves in a tough position, gave up too many second and third opportunities to a team at that level, they are going to hurt you."

Two days later in Boston, it was the Trail Blazers that led by more than 16 points in the first half before a third quarter Celtics comeback paved the way for an Al Horford fadeaway as time expired that handed Portland a 97-96 loss in a game that tipped off at 9 a.m. Pacific.

"Tough loss," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "I thought both teams ended up making a lot of plays down at the end. Obviously, it could have gone either way, but (Al) Horford made a well defended shot and they had the ball last."

As for the Pistons (29-26), they enter Monday's game on a three game winning streak after the trade that brought in power forward Blake Griffin from the L.A. Clippers. The first pick of the 2009 NBA Draft finished with 16 points, nine rebonds and seven assists in Detroit's most recent victory, a 111-107 win versus the Miami Heat on February 3.

Monday's game will be the first between the Trail Blazers and Pistons this season. Detroit has swept the season series between the two teams the last two years, with both of their wins last season coming in overtime.

Trail Blazers Evan Turner (left calf) and Shabazz Napier (left great toe) are listed as questionable for Monday's game. Napier sat out Sunday's game with the injury, while Turner played but went scoreless in 23 minutes. Luke Kennard (foot) and Dwight Buycks (illness) are  questionable for the Pistons while Reggie Jackson (right ankle sprain) and Jon Leuer (left ankle surgery) are out.

Monday night's game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam. Scott Lynn, filling in for Brian Wheeler, will have the radio call on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM.