Lillard’s scoring touch returns as Blazers beat Detroit

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer



PORTLAND — One game after going 1-for-15 from the field, Damian Lillard’s shots found the bottom of the net.

Lillard wasn’t alone though. Six Portland Trail Blazers scored in double-figures in a 109-103 win over Detroit on Monday at the Moda Center.

The Blazers weren’t satisfied with letting the Pistons within striking distance late. But, they won with an offense that has been among the NBA’s best in this fledgling season.

Nicolas Batum says they are just trying to have fun.

“We’re just trying to involve everybody and have fun together,” he said after the game.

“We just have to keep moving the ball and playing unselfish,” said Damian Lillard who bounced back from his second-worst shooting night to score 25 points on 16 shots.

The Blazers continued to hum on the offensive end. Their excellence there helped them survive a late charge by the Pistons, led by Brandon Jennings, who scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter.

“You never analyze a win too much,” head coach Terry Stotts said after the game. “It was good to get a win but it also shows that we still have room to grow.”

The Blazers also got great contributions from their frontcourt of Robin Lopez, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.

Lopez recorded his second double-double as a Blazer with 17 points and 10 rebounds while the remarkably consistent Aldridge had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Batum was in distributor mode scoring 12 points and collecting eight assists.

Lopez also saw some time alongside Joel Freeland for the first time this season as the British big man continues to find more minutes, this time over Thomas Robinson who played only five minutes.

Lillard feels like the “small things” matter to this year’s team perhaps more than last year’s.

“We are more excited for each other about small things,” he said. “I wasn’t making shots in Sacramento, but I noticed a lot of things going on. Wes made a bunch of shots, I was happy LA was able to get his work done. Being excited for each other and caring about winning, that’s a huge difference.”

Not everything was easy or fun for the Blazers as they dealt with a big and talented Pistons team. Second-year center Andre Drummond had a double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds while Greg Monroe chipped in 19 points and eight rebounds.

The Pistons came into the game as the third-best offensive rebounding team in the NBA and they continued to play to their strengths by recording 18 rebounds on the offensive end.

The Blazers had only allowed 16 offensive rebounds in the last two games combined.

“I’d like to get to the point where we’re able to take away other teams’ strengths a little bit better,” Stotts said. “Detroit did what they did. They are a paint team, they are an offensive rebounding team.”

Aldridge said that the Blazers have to finish better. They let the Kings come back from 20 points to make it a game in Sacramento on Saturday and let Detroit close late Monday.

“To go where this team wants to go we have to put teams away,” he said. “I feel like we gave them life tonight. That’s not good for us going forward. We have to learn to be like Miami or the Indiana Pacers. They’ll kill you all game.”

Blazers notes

o After Lillard had his second worst shooting night of his career in Portland’s last game, going 1-for-15 in Saturday’s win at Sacramento.

Terry Stotts did not worry about it much.

“He went 1-for-16 last year against Orlando and had a terrific game against Miami the next night,” Stotts said. “Those nights happen. I think he showed last year that if there is a set back he will come back even better.”

Lillard started off the night 2-for-2 from the field with both shots coming behind the three-point line. Lillard continued his hot shooting for the rest of the half, finishing 4-for-7 for 14 points at the break.

o Former Blazer Rasheed Wallace made his first trip to Portland as a coach. He is an assistant on new coach Maurice Cheeks’ staff. Cheeks was the Blazers coach from 2001 to 2005.

o Stotts talked pregame about the challenge that the Pistons present with their size and rebounding. The Pistons came into the game third in offensive rebounding.

o After struggling from the field to start the season and coming into Monday’s game shooting 37 percent, Portland’s Mo Williams started out on fire. He scored 15 points on seven of seven shooting in the first half.

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