We knew the up-and-coming Portland Trail Blazers could win at home, where they improved to 7-0 on Friday with a win over the highly touted New Orleans Hornets. The team put a new notch in its collective belt Sunday afternoon when it strolled out of the Palace of Auburn Hills with a stunningly well-played win over the Detroit Pistons.
This was a truly complete effort as the Blazers played crisp basketball in nearly every facet of the game.
Offensively, the Blazers got the shots they wanted, particularly down the stretch (as noted by Ben over at Blazer's Edge). Their two top scorers played highly efficient games as LaMarcus Aldridge shot 11-for-19 (27 points) and Brandon Roy 7-for-13 (19 points), and the team shot better than 52 percent from the field, including a 7-for-17 showing from the three-point line.
Defensively, Portland limited the Pistons to less than 44 percent shooting and held Allen Iverson to 2-for-9 from the field. The Blazers never let the Pistons really get settled in offensively, and they controlled the game throughout, leading by double-digits for most of the night en route to a 96-85 victory.
This group is playing team-oriented basketball night in and night out, focusing on taking open looks wherever they come and committing to following shots offensively and locking down the boards on defense. These Blazers may be young, but they've hit a stretch where they seem to be looking increasingly mature and prepared every time out, and it's a pleasure to watch. Having the most scrutinized youngster of them all - Greg Oden - come up big with 11 points and 13 rebounds on Sunday didn't hurt either.
These guys are on their way to becoming scary good sooner rather than later.