DETROIT (AP) – Damian Lillard had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, securing his second triple-double of the season and third of his career before the end of the third quarter, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Detroit Pistons 110-104 on Monday night. Lillard scored 16 points in the first quarter to give the Trail Blazers a 31-18 lead, and they had little trouble keeping a comfortable margin against a banged-up and slumping team for most of the night.
“He came out and set the tone for us,” coach Chauncey Billups said. “He usually does.”
The six-foot-two, 200-pound dynamic guard also hit the boards for his undersized team, grabbing three more than he had in any other game this season.
“We are kind of small and we need him in there right now,” Billups said. “He’s going to fight with the big guys. He’s prepared to do whatever it takes.”
Detroit pulled within six points with 1:39 left to fire up the previously quiet fans, and Jerami Grant quieted them with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession. Grant finished with 26 points against his former team.
“I applaud our fight and scratch down the stretch,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said.
Cam Reddish had 13 points, Trendon Watford scored 12 and Drew Eubanks added 10 points for the Trail Blazers, who have won two straight for the first time in a month to strengthen their hopes of rallying into the playoffs.
“I don’t mind floating under the radar,” Billups said. “I just want us to get healthy and see if we can make the push that that I believe we can.”
Isaiah Livers matched a career high with 17 points for the Pistons, who have lost a season-high eight straight games.
“He did an excellent job of being aggressive and taking his open shots,” Casey said.
“He was our best three-point shooter out there at times.”
Detroit rookie Jaden Ivey had 13 points and 13 assists, Cory Joseph scored 14 points, Alec Burks had 13 and James Wiseman added 12.
The Pistons were without injured starters Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart and rookie centre Jalen Duran, along with key reserve Killian Hayes.