Thursday, November 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: Portland Trail Blazers (1-3) at Detroit Pistons (2-2)

Monty Williams didn’t see his team play up to its new standards in its most recent game.

The Detroit coach will expect a better showing when the Pistons host the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

Following a one-point, season-opening loss to Miami, the Pistons secured double-digit wins over Charlotte and Chicago. Their trip to Oklahoma City on Monday didn’t go as smoothly, though, as they were thumped by the Thunder, 124-112.

Oklahoma City jumped to a 12-point lead after the first quarter, and the Pistons never caught up. Oklahoma City shot 53 percent from the field and converted 17 Detroit turnovers into 26 points.

Detroit star guard Cade Cunningham had an off night. He was limited to 17 points on 5-for-15 shooting from the field and had five assists while committing seven turnovers. In his previous game, against Chicago, Cunningham led his team with 25 points and 10 assists.

After three losses, Portland collected its first win of the season on Monday, 99-91 at Toronto. The Trail Blazers’ big men sparked the win. Forward and former Piston Jerami Grant had a team-high 22 points, and center Deandre Ayton grabbed a career-best 23 rebounds and added 10 points.

For Ayton, the victory was his first in a Blazers uniform. He was traded by Phoenix in late September.

Ayton will have an intriguing matchup on Wednesday against Detroit’s second-year center, Jalen Duren, who is averaging 15.5 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 blocks a game.

Portland lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando, and Philadelphia before its breakthrough victory.

The Trail Blazers are operating without high-scoring guard Anfernee Simons for the next four to six weeks. He suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb during the team’s season opener.

Malcolm Brogdon leads the club in scoring at an average of 19.2 points per game despite coming off the bench. Shaedon Sharpe tops the starters at 18.0 points per game. The Trail Blazers, who will wrap up a three-game trip vs. the Pistons, won both matchups with Detroit last season as Grant averaged 31 points in those contests.

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