Pistons run over by Blazers, 118-103, as Enes Kanter has historic night
To some degree, the Pistons’ western road trip already is a success, with two victories, over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings. One more win would give them a winning record in a difficult stretch of games.
It didn’t come against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Enes Kanter had a historic night and as usual, the backcourt carried the Blazers to a 118-103 victory over the Pistons on Saturday night at Moda Center.
Kanter had 24 points and a franchise-record 30 rebounds, Damian Lillard 27 points and 10 assists and C.J. McCollum 26 points and four rebounds for the Blazers (31-21).
Kanter, who had 12 offensive rebounds, also set a career high, becoming the first player in the NBA with at least 30 rebounds since Dwight Howard in 2018.
The Pistons (16-37) had trouble keeping up on the boards and in defending the Blazers’ potent backcourt. Cory Joseph and Dennis Smith Jr., who were the starting backcourt for the second straight game, combined for just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting.
For the second straight game, the Pistons were without leading scorer Jerami Grant, who sat out because of knee soreness. Josh Jackson (21 points) picked up the scoring load and found his shooting stroke, going 5-for-6 on 3-pointers.
In the first half, the Blazers got hot from 3-point range. Along with the presence on the boards that Kanter provided, that proved to be tough combination for the Pistons to handle.
Mason Plumlee returned after missing Thursday’s game because of concussion protocol, but he played just 18 minutes.
“You've got to be a consistent 3-point-shooting team. You saw how easy it was for those guys tonight; they didn't shoot it well and they still shot 45%,” coach Dwane Casey said. “That and the rebounding piece, with 24 second-chance points, is the difference in the game.”
The Pistons jumped to an early lead at 14-11, behind Bey, who had eight points in the first four minutes. The Blazers put it together with nine straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers from McCollum and Lillard.
Portland finished the quarter on a 11-2 run, before Frank Jackson got into a good groove. He helped get the Pistons back in the game with his second 3-pointer of the game, before adding three free throws. Sekou Doumbouya completed a three-point play to trim the deficit to 43-35.
After a basket by McCollum, the Pistons scored the next five points, which ignited a 10-2 spurt, and the Pistons were within 47-46, until Lillard connected on a 3-pointer that kept the Blazers ahead, and they maintained a 59-50 lead at halftime.
In the second half, they extended the lead to 18 with a 7-0 run, including a 3-pointer by Lillard and a floater by McCollum. The Pistons didn’t get within 10 points the rest of the way, and the only question was whether the Kanter would get the record, which he did in the closing minutes.
Pistons at Clippers
►Tipoff: 10 Sunday, Staples Center, Los Angeles
►Outlook: The Clippers (36-18) are two games out of the No. 2 spot in the West and have surged with four straight wins. The Pistons (16-37) finish their five-game western road trip after splitting the first four.