Resilient Pistons go 2 OTs to top Blazers
Portland, Ore. — It took an extra day, but the Pistons and Trail Blazers finally got to play their game. Originally scheduled for Saturday night, the game was postponed due to freezing rain and dangerous conditions.
It took an extra day — and some extra time.
The Portland Trail Blazers made two tying shots to send the game to overtime periods, but the Pistons put it away behind Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s clutch shooting.
Caldwell-Pope made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 9.4 seconds left in the second overtime and the Pistons held on for a 125-124 victory over the Blazers on Sunday night at the Moda Center.
The win marks the first time in more than a month that the Pistons (18-21) have won consecutive games. The last time was Dec. 2, when they swept a three-game road trip; this one starts a five-game western swing.
Caldwell-Pope had nine points in the second overtime — all on 3-pointers — and finished with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-7 beyond the arc. The Pistons trailed, 124-119, with 1:41 left, before Caldwell-Pope hit the last two 3-pointers, the final one out of a timeout on an inbounds play.
“We were all excited; we really didn’t want them to take it to another overtime and had to finish it in two overtimes,” Caldwell-Pope, who had 26 points in 48 minutes. “It didn’t matter who took the shot; we wanted to execute our plays and get a wide-open shot.”
The Blazers (16-23) had a final chance to regain the lead, but C.J. McCollum missed a 17-foot jumper with 1.9 seconds left. They had another chance after the ball went off the Pistons, with 0.2 seconds remaining.
On the final play, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy reprised his Internet-famous “Form-a-Wall” strategy with three centers — 7-foot-4 Boban Marjanovic to guard the inbounds pass, plus Andre Drummond defending the middle and Aron Baynes helping — to prevent a last-second tip-in. The Blazers never got a shot off and the Pistons prevailed.
But it wasn’t an easy time for Van Gundy.
“(It’s fun) if you win. There were so many back-and-forths,” Van Gundy said. “There were times we had leads and should have been able to close it out in regulation and didn’t, then we got behind in both OTs but fought back.
“That’s a tough game to be on the losing end of — I’ll tell you that — either way.”
The Blazers rode McCollum (35 points) to the second overtime, after he hit the tying 3-pointer with 8.3 seconds left in regulation and another 3-pointer to level it at 114 with 22.6 seconds remaining in the first overtime.
Andre Drummond had a season-high 28 points and added 14 rebounds in a whopping 52 minutes. Reggie Jackson added 18 of his 31 points in the second half and overtime periods.
Jackson had an encore performance of his career-best game last season against the Blazers — with 26 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter — and had drives in back-to-back possessions in the final 1:08 of the first overtime, for a three-point advantage, before McCollum’s tying 3-pointer.
Jackson had a chance to win it, but his fadeaway jumper was short and Drummond’s tip-in came after the buzzer.
In the second overtime, the Blazers went ahead, 124-119, after consecutive baskets from Lilliard and a jumper by Al-Farouq Aminu (16 points) with 1:41 remaining. But Caldwell-Pope’s 3-pointers were the difference.
“Pope hit a terrific shot, well-contested, well-defended and we just came up short,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “It was a good effort.”
Allen Crabbe keyed the Blazers’ second-half surge, with a career-high 30 points off the bench, on 12-of-15 field goals, including 5-of-5 on 3-pointers.
The finish to regulation was similar to the first overtime. Jackson hit a fadeaway jumper with 24.2 seconds left, for a 106-103 advantage but McCollum, who scored 25-plus points for the fifth straight game, answered with a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc, tying it at 106.
The Pistons trailed, 87-78, late in the third quarter but Tobias Harris (14 points) hit a bank shot to cut the deficit to seven entering the fourth quarter. They opened with a putback by Drummond and a 3-pointer by Stanley Johnson, to make it 87-85.
That sparked a 20-9 Pistons run — with seven points by Jackson — as they pulled ahead, 100-96, with 5:02 remaining.