The Pistons host the Trail Blazers Saturday night in the second meeting between these teams this season. The Trail Blazers blew out the Pistons 124-101 on March 31st in Detroit.
The Trail Blazers are looking for momentum as they have lost three of four games since that win over the Pistons after getting blown out in Utah 122-103 on Thursday night. The Pistons beat the Kings 113-101 on Thursday, and they have won a season-high four of their last seven games.
Can Joseph Lead the Pistons to Another Upset?If the Pistons cover or pull the upset as road underdogs, they will need Josh Jackson and new acquisitions Hamidou Diallo and Cory Joseph to step up offensively because leading scorer Jerami Grant is out due to right knee soreness. Wayne Ellington (rest) and Rodney McGruder (elbow) are also out while Mason Plumlee (concussion) is questionable.
The Pistons will also need secondary scorers to step up for their 25th-rated offense (108.5) without their only player averaging more than 15 points to keep up with a Trail Blazers offense that ranks fifth in offensive efficiency (117.9). Cory Joseph is coming off of a career-high 24 points in the Pistons’ upset win over the Kings (in a revenge game for Joseph as the Kings traded him to the Pistons at the trade deadline). Joseph has averaged over 12 points and five assists in the last seven games as a Piston, and he will need to play well as a key shot creator against the Trail Blazers. In a limited sample size of nine games in Detroit, Joseph’s 129.6 points per 100 shots would rank in the 100th percentile among NBA combo guards, and his 31.7% assist rate would rank in the 93rd percentile, per Cleaning The Glass.
At least one of Josh Jackson or Hamidou Diallo will need to catch fire for the Pistons to compete with the Trail Blazers. Jackson has been an inefficient volume scorer again this season, but he is streaky and has had solid performances in two of the last four games as he scored a season-high 31 points in last Thursday’s win over the Wizards. While Jackson ranks in the 99th percentile in usage among wings, he ranks in just the 21st percentile with 103.1 points per 100 shot attempts. In just seven games as a Piston, Diallo’s 136.2 points per 100 shots rank in the 97th percentile among NBA wings.
Watched Kings-Pistons this morning. Might be the best game Cory Joseph has ever played in Sacramento. Killian Hayes starting to do some positive things.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) April 9, 2021
The Pistons will also need Isaiah Stewart to step up on the glass to help generate extra shots, especially if Plumlee can’t play. Ball-handlers like Cory Joseph and Killian Hayes will need to limit turnovers and make smart decisions as distributors. Saddiq Bey and Sekou Doumbouya making shots will also be important for the Pistons. Bey is coming off of a great scoring performance in the loss to the Nuggets earlier this week where he tallied 25 points on just 15 shots as he made six of 12 threes.
Can Lillard Find His Shot?If the Trail Blazers cover as double-digit favorites, they will need their three sharpshooters - Damian Lillard to find his shooting form. Jusuf Nurkic (knee injury management) is out while Zach Collins (ankle) remains out indefinitely.
Damian Lillard will need to step up from his recent form for the Trail Blazers to score enough to cover as heavy favorites. For the first time this season, Lillard had back-to-back games earlier this week where he failed to score at least 20 points. In the last three games, Lillard has made a combined 16 of 50 shots and has connected on just seven of 25 three-point attempts.
Lillard has been playing through a leg injury (which, in my opinion, is the reason why his shooting hasn’t been up to his lofty standards over the last eight games), and he will need to have a big night for the Trail Blazers to overcome their horrific defense to cover as they rank 29th in defensive rating (117.9 - excluding garbage time).
- Pistons are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Pistons are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games.
- Pistons are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as a road underdog.
- Trail Blazers are 7-16-3 ATS in their last 26 Saturday games.
- Trail Blazers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Trail Blazers are the better team, but with Lillard struggling to shoot the ball as he plays through a leg injury while McCollum is also working his way back to 100%, the value is on the Pistons. The Pistons just pulled a big upset over the Kings on Thursday, and they should be competitive against the Trail Blazers with Cory Joseph playing his best basketball while Isaiah Stewart steps up inside with Jusuf Nurkic out. Diallo and Jackson will make enough shots for the Pistons to cover, and maybe even pull the upset if they get hot.
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the over as both offenses should have the advantage against the opposing defenses. The Trail Blazers’ defense has been awful as they have the second-worst defensive rating in the history of the NBA, and even though the Pistons are shorthanded, they shouldn’t have too much trouble generating good looks against the Portland matador defense. While Lillard has been struggling, expect McCollum and the surging Norman Powell to score enough points for the score to go over the total.