Preview: Trail Blazers at Pistons


GAME: Portland Trail Blazers (7-16) at Detroit Pistons (19-3).

TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

LINE: Oddsmakers list Detroit as 14-point favorites with the total set at 184.

Detroit guard Chauncey Billups has stepped up his offensive game so far this season.

After his most prolific night of the season, Billups looks to turn in another strong performance as the league-leading Pistons play host to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Billups scored a season-high 30 points - capped by a game-winning 15-footer with 0.3 seconds left in the second overtime - in Detroit`s 106-104 win Monday over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Billups missed last-second shots in regulation and the first overtime.

``I was happy I got that opportunity again,`` he said. ``We had some good chances. I know I did. I didn`t get it to go at first. But you know how we do. We kept sticking around and sticking around and kept getting those chances, and I took it.``

Billups is averaging 19 points per game this season, 2.1 more than his previous career-high, set in 2003-04. He also has scored at least 20 points in five of his last seven games.

In his last six games against Portland, Billups has averaged 18.6 points. He has scored an average of just 12.3 points in 17 games versus the Trail Blazers.

Tayshaun Prince added 24 points and Richard Hamilton scored 19 for the Pistons, who own the league`s best record and are tied with the San Antonio for the most wins.

The Spurs and Pistons met for the NBA title last season with San Antonio winning in seven games.

Detroit, which has won four straight and 10 of 11, has topped 100 points in each of their last four games.

This game starts a tough four-game road trip in which Portland will also play the Memphis Grizzles, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings.

``Yeah, tough games, three good teams, but what do you do?`` forward Viktor Khryapa said. ``You just have to play together, play hard and see what happens.``

The Trail Blazers on Sunday beat the Washington Wizards 97-92, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Former Wizard Juan Dixon scored 20 points after getting the start in place of Sebastian Telfair, out with a sprained thumb ligament.

Detroit has won four of its last five matchups against Portland.

STANDINGS: Trail Blazers - 5th place, 5 1/2 GB, Northwest Division. Pistons - 1st place, Central Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Trail Blazers - F Khryapa, F Zach Randolph, C Theo Ratliff, G Dixon, G Steve Blake. Pistons - F Prince, F Rasheed Wallace, C Ben Wallace, G Billups, G Hamilton.

TEAM LEADERS: Trail Blazers - Miles, 18.2 ppg; Randolph, 8.6 rpg; Telfair, 4.3 apg. Pistons - Hamilton, 21.6 ppg; Ben Wallace, 11.7 rpg; Billups, 8.8 apg.

SEASON SERIES: Pistons, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 11; Pistons, 84-81. At Portland, Billups had 21 points and 10 assists, and Rasheed Wallace added 13 points in his third trip to Portland since leaving the Blazers two years ago.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Trail Blazers - 2-9 on the road; Pistons - 7-1 at home.

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