Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#557 Detroit Pistons 226.5 vs.
#558 Portland Trail Blazers -5.5
Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 9:05pm EST
Moda Center, Portland
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s an interconference tilt between a pair of teams outside their respective playoff pictures on the parquet floor in the Rose City. The Detroit Pistons are on the road as they make the trip to face the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday night. Detroit comes in off a 126-106 home loss to Milwaukee in their last game Thursday night. Portland was dropped 128-115 at home by New Orleans in their last game on Friday night. The Trail Blazers lead the all-time regular season series 63-55 but the teams split two matchups last season. In the most recent meeting, it was the Pistons taking a 99-90 home win on March 30, 2019.

Detroit Pistons Selling Off Veteran Pieces

Detroit suffered their fifth straight loss as they were walloped by Milwaukee at home in their last game. The Pistons enter this game fourth in the Central Division, 29.5 games behind the Bucks for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team is 12th in the playoff picture, six games behind Orlando for the final playoff spot. Detroit was out of the game with the Bucks early as they trailed by 14 after the opening quarter and by 29 at the half. The Pistons never got closer than the final margin the rest of the way. Detroit shot 48.2 percent from the field, including 13 of 37 from three-point range, but turned the ball over 22 times in the loss. Christian Wood paced the Pistons with 18 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

The Pistons enter this contest 24th in the league in scoring offense with 107.9 points per game on the season. Detroit stands 28th in rebounding with 42.4 boards per contest and 15th with 24.1 assists per game. The Pistons are in the middle of the pack in scoring defense, ranking 16th by allowing 110.8 points per game. Derrick Rose contributes a team-high 18 points plus 5.7 assists a night while Luke Kennard chips in 15.8 points per game. Blake Griffin has averaged 15.5 points plus 4.7 boards a contest. Langston Galloway has chipped in 10.2 points a night. Detroit is tied for 16th in the league in field goal percentage as they hit 46.1 percent from the floor as a team on the year. The Pistons are tied for 16th in threes made per game with 11.8 per contest and stand eighth in three-point shooting as they connect on 36.8 percent of their shooting from beyond the arc.

Griffin underwent knee surgery January 7 and is out indefinitely. The Pistons received a disabled player exception for him on January 22 so his season could be over. Kennard has been out with a knee injury since December 21 with a knee issue and remains out of the lineup. That has allocated more minutes to Christian Wood (11.3 points, 5.8 boards), Bruce Brown and Svi Mykhailiuk to give them a chance to step up. Earlier this week, the team reached a buyout with Reggie Jackson, who is reportedly going to ink a deal with the Clippers once he clears waivers. In addition, the team reached a buyout with Markieff Morris, who the Lakers have an eye on should he clear waivers.

Portland Trail Blazers Looking to Gain Ground in Western Conference

Portland dropped their third straight game as they were unable to slow down New Orleans in their last game. The Trail Blazers entered Saturday fourth in the Northwest Division, 13 games behind the Nuggets for the division lead. In the Western Conference playoff picture, Portland stood ninth, 2.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot. Portland trailed by five after the opening quarter and by 10 at the half before getting outscored 29-20 in the third quarter to go down by 19. The Trail Blazers shot 45.7 percent from the field, including 10 of 27 from three-point range, and allowed New Orleans to shoot 53.6 percent from the floor. CJ McCollum led Portland with 27 points, six rebounds and 10 assists in the loss.

The Trail Blazers come into this one 8th in the league in scoring with 113.4 points per game. The Trail Blazers are 11th in the league in rebounding as they collect 45.8 boards a night. Portland is 30th in the league in assists with 20 per contest. The Trail Blazers are below average defensively as they come in 26th in the league by allowing 115.5 points a night. Damian Lillard leads the team with 29.5 points plus 7.9 assists per contest. CJ McCollum chips in 21.4 points a night while Hassan Whiteside contributes 15.8 points and 14 rebounds plus 3.1 blocks per contest. Carmelo Anthony puts up 15.2 points and 6.6 boards a night. Anfernee Simons, Trevor Ariza and Mario Hezonja all have to step up and contribute for the Trail Blazers. Portland is 20th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 45.6 percent from the floor. The Trail Blazers are knocking down 12.6 three pointers a night, which is 10th in the league, while ranking tied for 4th in the league by shooting 37 percent from downtown. Jusuf Nurkic, who broke his leg on March 25, 2019 against the Nets and missed the rest of last season, is targeting a return in late February or early March at best. Lillard is expected to miss a few games with a hamstring injury while Hezonja is out with an ankle issue.

Best Bets for this Game

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This is a battle of two teams heading in the wrong direction at the moment. Detroit has fallen apart and they have cut loose the majority of their veterans in the last couple weeks. With Andre Drummond traded, Jackson and Morris cut and Griffin injured, there’s not much left for the Pistons to work with in their rotation. Portland is struggled and is minus Lillard but they still have some good pieces to work with in their rotation. The Trail Blazers are at home and with there being little to have faith in for the Pistons, you have to give Portland the upper hand.

Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers -4.5

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Detroit is running out of players that casual fans might recognize in their rotation and it's going to be a challenge to try and figure out who, if anyone, will contribute on a nightly basis the rest of the way. It's a safe bet to fade the Pistons' offensive attack a bit until we see how things shake out. Portland is going to be minus Lillard here, taking nearly 30 points out of the mix for them. The Trail Blazers have a dynamic secondary option in McCollum but it's hard to put up massive point totals without your leading scorer. Detroit got over the total in their last game thanks to a typical showing by Milwaukee. That doesn't happen here and this one ends up under the number.

Prediction: Under 225.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.