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               === Pistons kick off western trip in Portland ===
 ( - The Portland Trail Blazers seem to have picked things up
 since  a  season--opening loss  and look to  stay on track  when they host the
 Detroit Pistons Monday night in the Rose City.
 Portland  has  won two in  a row and four  of five games, including Saturday's
 96-85  victory at Sacramento. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 22 points and
 14  rebounds and Wesley Matthews netted 21 for Portland, which held on for the
 win  despite  Damian Lillard's struggles.  Lillard, the reigning Rookie of the
 Year, had four points and six assists.
 "I'm  not going  to go shoot a  thousand jumpers because I went 1-for-15. It's
 not going to happen too often, I know that," Lillard said.
 Meanwhile,  Aldridge, who  has scored 20 or more points in six straight games,
 had his first double-double of the season for the Blazers, as they completed a
 home-and-home sweep of the Kings.
 Robin  Lopez  had 12 points  and 10 rebounds for  his first double-double in a
 Portland  uniform.  Matthews has  netted at  least 18 points  in his last five
 games, a career high.
 The  Pistons will  begin a  four-game western  jaunt Monday  against Portland,
 Golden  State, Sacramento and  the Los Angeles Lakers. It went 1-2 on a recent
 homestand  and suffered  a second straight loss in Friday's 119-110 setback to
 the Oklahoma City Thunder.
 Josh  Smith  scored a season-high 25  points, Brandon Jennings added 22 and 11
 assists  for his first double-double and Greg Monroe contributed 20 points and
 15  rebounds for Detroit,  which has lost three of its last four games. Rodney
 Stuckey provided 17 points off the bench.
 "They  executed down the  stretch, and we didn't execute as well as they did,"
 Smith said.
 Detroit  couldn't  contain Thunder star  Kevin Durant,  who had a game-high 37
 points.  Russell Westbrook scored 20 points in the win and OKC had a game-best
 13-point lead at 105-92.
 On  a  milestone watch,  Jennings needs six  games for 500  in his career, one
 rebound for 1,000 and one more point for 5,000.
 The  Pistons rank first in the NBA for most post points in the paint with 50.4
 per  game and hope to bounce back against Portland, which has won seven of the
 last nine matchups between the teams.
 Detroit has lost five straight trips to the Pacific Northwest.
 11/11 10:34:19 ET

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