PORTLAND, Ore. -- At least the Detroit Pistons have only two more games remaining against the western teams.
The Pistons fell to a putrid 4-24 against foes from the Western Conference with Saturday night's 112-101 loss to the Trail Blazers, their eighth consecutive loss overall.
LaMarcus Aldridge, a noted Pistons killer, turned a tie game going into the fourth quarter into a Blazers advantage when he scored on the first four possessions of the fourth on his way to a 31-point night.
But the most maddening aspect of the game for Pistons fans was the continuing scoring streak from Rodney Stuckey.
He scored a season high 32 points on 12-for-23 shooting -- furthering his claim that the reasons for his problems have been a matter of how he is being used by Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, who missed his sixth straight game dealing with a personal matter.
"It's just using Stuckey in the right positions, knowing what makes his mind tick and what makes him more aggressive and keeping him aggressive, saying positive things to him and just keeping him in tune with everything going on," said Will Bynum, who scored 23 points.
Pistons assistant coach Brian Hill said: "The more opportunities he has with the ball in his hands, then obviously the more effective he is because it gives him an opportunity to be an attacking player offensively. But you can't change the whole offensive scheme or the way the team is built offensively. We try to put him in situations where he can attack with the ball ... it's a fine line."
But with the way the Pistons are playing defense it hardly matters.
Missing their best defender in Andre Drummond (lower back) and one of their better defenders in Brandon Knight (left ankle), it was another off night for the Pistons defense.
In going winless on the four-game trip, they allowed an average of 112.25 points per game.
The defensive futility was symbolized when J.J. Hickson caught an alley-oop dunk with 4:30 remaining to give the Blazers a 12-point lead as Greg Monroe and Stuckey watched. As Hill called time-out, Monroe and Stuckey just looked at one another.
The Pistons (23-45) made it interesting briefly with an 8-0 run capped by back-to-back And-1 plays from Bynum (23 points) to narrow the gap to 99-95. But Nicolas Batum's triple and five points from Aldridge ended any hopes for a comeback -- which is the main point even if you quibble with Stuckey's usage.
"That's my game just to attack and create for my teammates. I've just been given an opportunity to do this the last couple of games and it's been working in my hands, but ... that's the most important thing, we lost," Stuckey said.
Kyle Singler struggled in his return to his home state, scoring four points on 2-for-10 shooting.
Every starter scored in double figures for the Blazers (32-34). Rookie of the year front-runner Damian Lillard struggled against the Pistons once again, seeing a streak of 20-plus games end with 14 points. He did add seven assists.
The Pistons only have a home-and-home left with the Minnesota Timberwolves remaining and they are finished against the Western Conference.
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