Pistons Stay Perfect With Griffin

Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, left, defends as Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT (AP) — Stan Van Gundy worried over the weekend that the Detroit Pistons were becoming too reliant on Blake Griffin.

That wasn’t a problem Monday night.

Andre Drummond had 17 points and 17 rebounds, and the Pistons beat the Portland Trail Blazers 111-91 for their fourth straight victory. Detroit had 36 assists on 44 field goals and had six players with at least 12 points.

“I didn’t really think we moved the ball that much at the start of the game, but then we really got it going,” said Van Gundy, Detroit’s coach. “The best part is that you look how many guys got involved — it wasn’t just one or two guys with a bunch. Once you start moving the ball, it gets contagious.”

Detroit has won three in a row with Griffin in the lineup after acquiring him in a trade last week. Following a win over Miami on Saturday, Van Gundy said the Pistons might be playing through Griffin too much. He still led Detroit in scoring Monday, but the Pistons had plenty of threats.

“They had one action — dribble handoff out of the corner — and they kept getting down to the center of our defense,” Portland’s Damian Lillard said. “Once guys get confident and get to making shots, it’s hard to stop.”

The victory pulled the Pistons back to .500 and even with Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Griffin had 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and did a good bit of his offensive damage from the perimeter, making three 3-pointers. Anthony Tolliver added 15 points for Detroit, and Reggie Bullock and Langston Galloway contributed 13 apiece.

Lillard scored 20 points and C.J. McCollum added 14 for the Blazers, who lost again after falling at the buzzer at Boston on Sunday. Portland was without Evan Turner on Monday because of a left calf injury.

Detroit led by 13 in the second quarter and was up 49-43 at halftime. The Pistons pushed the lead to double digits again in the third. A 9-0 run capped by Luke Kennard’s 3-pointer made it 75-57.

Detroit was never seriously threatened in the fourth, and the game ended with several seldom-used reserves on the court.



INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — All-Star guard Bradley Beal scored 21 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 15 to help Washington hold on to beat Indiana.

JAZZ 133


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Rodney Hood scored 30 points in his second game back from a lower leg bruise and surging Utah extended its winning streak to six with a victory over New Orleans.

MAGIC 111, HEAT 109

MIAMI (AP) — Mario Hezonja scored 20 points, Jonathan Simmons made the tiebreaking dunk with 1:31 remaining, and Orlando beat Miami.



DENVER (AP) — Gary Harris scored 27 points, Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Denver beat Charlotte.



LOS ANGELES (AP) — Danilo Gallinari had 28 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 24 seconds left, and Los Angeles scored the last 13 points of the game to rally past Dallas.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Bogdan Bogdanovic made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining and Sacramento overcame a dismal start with a strong finish to beat Chicago.