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 Aldridge, Oden lead Blazers past Pistons 96-85

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PostSubject: Aldridge, Oden lead Blazers past Pistons 96-85   Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:00 pm

AUBURN HILLS, Mich.(AP) The Detroit Pistons are starting to look like the Detroit Lions - they're always a wreck on Sunday.For
the fourth Sunday in a row, the Pistons played like their hapless NFL
counterparts, losing 96-85 to the Portland Trail Blazers."Other
than asking the league not to schedule us for any more Sundays, there's
nothing I can do about this,'' Pistons coach Michael Curry said.While
the Pistons are 10-2 during the rest of the week, they have been
outscored by an average of 17 points while losing all four Sunday games.Portland's young starting lineup dominated Detroit's first five, outscoring them 74-52."This
was a gritty effort,'' said Portland coach Nate McMillan. "When you go
into Detroit and beat them, it is going to be with a gritty effort.''LaMarcus
Aldridge led Portland with 27 points, while Brandon Roy added 19 and
Greg Oden finished with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in the
Blazers' fourth straight win."This is a good win for us, because
we've struggled against good teams on the road this year,'' Roy said.
"We had good focus, and we were able to close the game.''Richard
Hamilton had 18 for Detroit, but Allen Iverson finished with only nine
on 2-of-9 shooting. The Pistons fell to just 6-6 since Iverson joined
the team."This is a difficult situation for us, because it has
almost been like a training camp for us since I got here,'' Iverson
said. "I'm sitting more right now than I ever have in my career, and my
rhythm isn't there. I'm missing shots that I normally knock down 110
percent of the time, and that's all on me.''As they have done
all season on Sundays, the Pistons got off to a terrible start.
Detroit's starters were a combined 1-for-9 in the first quarter, and
fell behind by 14 at one point."This game is on our starters,''
Curry said. "They put us in a hole that we never got out of, and when
we put them back in, they didn't do anything great. I'm a basketball
coach - I shouldn't have to be searching for energy.''Later,
Detroit's reserves went on a 10-0 run that helped the Pistons get to
45-42 before Portland scored the final five points of the half.
Aldridge had 17 points in the half, 11 more than any Piston.Portland
threatened to pull away throughout the third, but Detroit was able to
keep itself in the game. Hamilton's jumper at the quarter buzzer cut
the lead to 70-64.Amir Johnson's put-back tied the game with
9:04 left, and Arron Afflalo put them ahead with two free throws on
Detroit's next possession.Steve Blake, though, answered with a 3-pointer, and Roy's three-point play moved Portland up 85-80 with 5:31 left.Roy
and Nicolas Batum hit jumpers on the next two possessions, giving
Portland a nine-point edge, and the Pistons never seriously threatened
again."Before tonight, teams have made runs like that against us
and we've given in to the pressure,'' McMillan said. "Tonight, after
Detroit made that run, our guys were calm. They didn't panic. They
executed offensively and got the defensive stops we needed.''Notes:
The Pistons have lost as many times since acquiring Iverson as they
lost in the rest of the regular season - 26 games - after trading for
Rasheed Wallace in 2004. ... Tayshaun Prince, who had played at least
30 minutes in every game this season, saw just 22 minutes of action
Sunday. "He just wasn't playing well,'' Curry said.

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