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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Detroit Pistons: Twitter Reaction, Grades and Recap

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Detroit Pistons: Twitter Reaction, Grades and Recap

After laying a dud in the season opener, the Portland Trail Blazers have rallied to win three straight, including Monday's 109-103 victory over the Detroit Pistons at the Moda Center.

The Blazers (5-2) never cooled off from the field, shooting 51.2 percent (42 of 82) for the game and held off a late Pistons charge. Portland had six players in double figures led by Damian Lillard's 25 points—bouncing back after going 1-of-15 from the field in Saturday's win in Sacramento.

Brandon Jennings scored 28 points on a whopping 24 shots, while Detroit's big-men duo of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond were spectacular as they combined for 35 points and 24 rebounds on 20-of-44 shooting.

 

Player of the Game

Robin Lopez: 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 7-10 FGs

Lopez recorded his second-straight double-double and is showing signs of figuring out his role alongside All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.

His presence as a legit defender to pair with Aldridge upfront has made a world of difference. Although DeMarcus Cousins, Monroe and Drummond have had stellar outings against the Blazers recently, Lopez has made his opponents work hard for it—a big contrast from last year with J.J. Hickson.

 

Key Moment of the Game

With Portland clinging to an 83-80 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Blazers' shooting heated up from the outside as Dorell Wright made two three-pointers and Lillard hit one.

Portland's inside game opened up as Lopez and Aldridge powered their way in the paint to extend its lead to 107-94 with 3:55 left. The Pistons cut the lead to 107-103 with 1:28 remaining but didn't have enough to close the gap.

 

Grades

Lillard (A): Lillard said he wasn't worried about his shooting after a 1-of-15 effort against the Kings over the weekend, and he proved it with 25 points and five three-pointers.

Wesley Matthews (B-): Matthews struggled to get things going offensively but played a key role defensively in limiting Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum to poor shooting efforts.

Lopez (A): Making his presence felt offensively and defensively, Lopez was sensational as his contributions will be key to a Blazers run to the playoffs.

Nicolas Batum (B+): Batum had his usual do-everything performance with 12 points, eight assists and holding counterpart Josh Smith to just 11 points.

Aldridge (A): It was a second-straight double-double for Aldridge, whose biggest criticism has been his rebounding. But he's shown a willingness to mix it up inside, and it's possible Lopez's presence will make him more aggressive to the boards.

Bench (B+): Wright, Mo Williams and Joel Freeland provided big-time minutes—something that was rare last year. Williams gave the Blazers a lift in the middle quarters, Wright nailed opportune buckets and Freeland's defense has been one of the team's biggest surprises.

 

Twitter Reaction

 

Takeaways

The Pistons had a huge advantage with points in the paint, 60-36. They had more steals and fewer turnovers. That would've been a recipe for a loss last season.

The Blazers' offense, however, made up for it and looked sensational with shooters aplenty around the perimeter as Lillard, Williams, Matthews, Batum and Wright were knocking down shots. Opponents have to respect that, which in turn, has opened up the middle for Aldridge and Lopez to score.

In today's NBA, you can never have enough outside shooting. It will only improve when rookie C.J. McCollum eventually returns from injury. Overall, a good night for Rip City.

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