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Pistons kick off western trip in Portland

12:52 PM, Nov 11, 2013   |    comments
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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers seem to have picked things up since a season--opening loss and look to stay on track when they host the Detroit Pistons Monday night in the Rose City.

Portland has won two in a row and four of five games, including Saturday's 96-85 victory at Sacramento. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 22 points and 14 rebounds and Wesley Matthews netted 21 for Portland, which held on for the win despite Damian Lillard's struggles. Lillard, the reigning Rookie of the Year, had four points and six assists.

"I'm not going to go shoot a thousand jumpers because I went 1-for-15. It's not going to happen too often, I know that," Lillard said.

Meanwhile, Aldridge, who has scored 20 or more points in six straight games, had his first double-double of the season for the Blazers, as they completed a home-and-home sweep of the Kings.

Robin Lopez had 12 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double in a Portland uniform. Matthews has netted at least 18 points in his last five games, a career high.

The Pistons will begin a four-game western jaunt Monday against Portland, Golden State, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers. It went 1-2 on a recent homestand and suffered a second straight loss in Friday's 119-110 setback to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Josh Smith scored a season-high 25 points, Brandon Jennings added 22 and 11 assists for his first double-double and Greg Monroe contributed 20 points and 15 rebounds for Detroit, which has lost three of its last four games. Rodney Stuckey provided 17 points off the bench.

"They executed down the stretch, and we didn't execute as well as they did," Smith said.

Detroit couldn't contain Thunder star Kevin Durant, who had a game-high 37 points. Russell Westbrook scored 20 points in the win and OKC had a game-best 13-point lead at 105-92.

On a milestone watch, Jennings needs six games for 500 in his career, one rebound for 1,000 and one more point for 5,000.

The Pistons rank first in the NBA for most post points in the paint with 50.4 per game and hope to bounce back against Portland, which has won seven of the last nine matchups between the teams.

Detroit has lost five straight trips to the Pacific Northwest.

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