National Basketball Association
Detroit at Portland
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 17, 2018
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
An 11-game winning streak is apparently not something that earns a team a great deal of separation in the Western Conference, though the Portland Trail Blazers have certainly improved their outlook. The Trail Blazers will try to make it 12 straight and keep their firm grasp on the No. 3 spot in the West when they host the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.
Portland's 11-game surge leaves it two games up on the fourth-place Oklahoma City Thunder entering play on Friday but still only 4 1/2 games in front of the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets tied for ninth. "Each game is a challenge," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts told reporters after a 113-105 home win over Cleveland on Thursday. "To string together the wins we have been, we've been doing good things at both ends of the floor. And tonight was an example of that as well." The Pistons' odds of making the playoffs are getting longer as they sit 5 1/5 games behind the eighth-place Miami Heat in the East heading into play on Friday. Detroit is not enjoying much success against West postseason contenders on the current six-game road trip and fell at Utah and Denver on the first two stops.
10 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, NBCS Northwest (Portland)ABOUT THE PISTONS (30-38):
Detroit was embarrassed 110-79 at Utah on Thursday and fell into a 26-point hole at Denver on Friday before coming back and making it close in a 120-113 setback. "We finally started playing," star center Andre Drummond told reporters. "We started playing as a unit and we made them uncomfortable defensively. We can't take being down by (26) for us to pick up our energy. We've got to play with that same energy from when the ball goes up in the air." The Pistons are losers of 12 of their last 15 games and will play a back-to-back at Sacramento and Phoenix on Monday and Tuesday before closing the trip at NBA-best Houston on Thursday.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (42-26):
Eight of the last 11 games were played in Portland, including the last four, and the Trail Blazers are finishing up a five-game homestand with the Pistons. "We're doing a good job protecting home court, taking advantage of a little stretch at home," guard CJ McCollum told reporters after the win over Cleveland. "I think overall we're playing a lot better basketball, sharing the ball, defensively staying locked in for the most part, and getting stops when we need stops." Portland will play eight of its final 13 games on the road, with the remaining opponents at home including Houston, Boston and Utah.BUZZER BEATERS
1. McCollum is 17-of-34 from 3-point range over the last five games.
2. Drummond leads the league in rebounding (15.7) and grabbed at least 17 boards in three of the last four games.
3. Detroit took the last five in the series, including a 111-91 home win on Feb. 5.PREDICTION:
Trail Blazers 113, Pistons 99
Stats and Records