The top team in the Western Conference this season is not the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder. So far, the Portland Trail Blazers are king.
On Sunday, the Blazers will bring a 20-4 record the NBA’s highest scoring offense to the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Portland has won its last three games, and 18 of its last 20 after starting the season 2-2. The Blazers are 9-0 against Eastern Conference opponents this season, and defeated the Pistons on Nov. 11 in Portland, 109-103.
The Blazers are led by second-year point guard Damian Lillard (20.7 PPG, 5.8 APG) and eight-year veteran LaMarcus Aldridge (23.6 PPG, 11 RPG), both of whom are playing the best basketball of their respective careers. Rounding out Portland’s starting five is Wesley Matthews (16.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG), Nicolas Batum (13.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG) and Robin Lopez (9.6 PPG, 8.5 RPG).
For the 13th consecutive game, and the 17th in the last 18 games, the Pistons will start Greg Monroe (15.2 PPG, 9.0 RPG), Josh Smith (14.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG), Andre Drummond (13.5 PPG, 12.6 RPG), Brandon Jennings (16.9 PPG, 7.9 APG) and rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (7.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG).
The Pistons have surrendered 110.4 points per game against Western Conference opponents, while losing eight of nine against games against teams from the West. Detroit’s lone win came in a 97-90 victory at Sacramento last month.
The Pistons, averaging an NBA-best 51.3 points in the paint.
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