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Aldridge's 31 points help Trail Blazers hold off Pistons

The SportsXchange

PORTLAND -- LaMarcus Aldridge has been pretty good against just about every opponent this season. Against the Detroit Pistons, he has been Hall of Fame material.

The All-Star power forward scored 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and front-line mate J.J. Hickson collected 18 points and 15 boards in Portland's 112-101 victory over Detroit on Saturday night at the Rose Garden.

In a 108-101 loss at Detroit on Nov. 26, Aldridge had put up 32 points and 10 rebounds.

"Don't think it's anything special other than I've played pretty well against (the Pistons)," Aldridge said. "I just felt good tonight. I started kind of slow, but in the second half, I found my rhythm. I guess I was feeling it."

Nicolas Batum contributed 17 points, six assists, five rebounds and three blocked shots for the Trail Blazers (31-34), who rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to win their second straight game.

Rodney Stuckey scored a season-high 32 points and Will Bynum came off the bench to add 23 for the Pistons (23-45), who lost for the eighth straight time and finished their road trip 0-4.

"Our guys played their hearts out tonight," said Brian Hill, Detroit's acting head coach in the absence of Lawrence Frank, who is tending to his ill wife. "We had high energy, we were focused on our game plan and we did a good job defensively.

"In the third and fourth quarters, Aldridge made two or three shots that I don't know how he made them, quite honestly. His second half was hard to overcome."

Aldridge scored 21 of his points in the second half as Portland rallied from a five-point halftime deficit. The Blazers scored the first nine points of the third quarter to go on top 61-57. Detroit steadied and went back in front 75-73 late in the quarter before Portland took a 77-75 lead into the final period.

The Blazers were ahead 92-83 with seven minutes left, then took the lead to 99-87 two minutes later.

The Pistons charged back, scoring 10 in a row to get to within 99-97 with 2:50 remaining.

Batum buried a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 102-97, but Jason Maxiell's driving layup cut the margin to 102-99. Aldridge's rebound basket and a pair of Wesley Matthews free throws made it 106-99 with 1:39 to go. After a Detroit miss, a three-point play by Aldridge on Portland's next possession wrapped things up.

"I was very disappointed with our defense in the first half," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "I liked how we tightened things up at the beginning of the second half. Our defense was noticeably better -- more connected, more aggressive. That set the tone."

Detroit jumped to a 28-20 lead before settling for a 30-24 advantage going into the second quarter. The Pistons, getting into transition for 14 fast-break points in the half, led 56-46 with 1:35 left before settling for a 57-52 advantage.

Stuckey had 17 points, sinking 5 of 9 shots from the field and 6 of 7 at the line before the break.

NOTES: Hickson has 37 double-doubles, tied for second in the NBA behind Golden State's David Lee. Aldridge has 31 double-doubles and five games with at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 50 percent shooting -- tied with Miami's LeBron James for the league lead in that category. ... Aldridge, James and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant are the only players with 1,300 points and 500 rebounds. ... It was Portland's 12th win when trailing at halftime. ... Guard Brandon Knight, who scored 26 points in Detroit's 108-101 win over Portland on Nov. 26, missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle. "We'll keep our fingers crossed about Monday (against Brooklyn)," Hill said. ... Detroit's starting small forward, rookie Kyle Singler, struggled in the NBA debut in his home state. Singler, who prepped at South Medford High, scored four points on 2-for-10 shooting. "He has done a great job," Hill said before the game. "We're pleasantly surprised. Kyle very seldom makes mistakes in terms of understanding the game plan or trying to do too many things on the floor. He is technically a very solid player, does all the right things at the right times, and he knocks down his open shots. He has exceeded expectations."
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