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Published: Tuesday, 11/27/2012

Knight’s 26 points spark Pistons win

7 Detroit players hit double figures

ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Bran­don Knight out­played Damian Lil­lard in a matchup of young guards — and had plenty of help from a cou­ple of un­ex­pected con­trib­u­tors.

Knight scored 26 points to lead the Detroit Pis­tons to a 108-101 vic­tory over the Port­land Trail Blaz­ers on Mon­day night. Detroit had seven play­ers score in dou­ble fig­ures, in­clud­ing Kyle Sin­gler with 16 points and Char­lie Vil­lanueva with 10.

Sin­gler was a sec­ond-round draft pick in 2011 and spent last sea­son in Spain. Vil­lanueva played in only three of Detroit's first 13 games this sea­son, but he's scored 27 points in the last two.

"We had four pos­ses­sions that re­sulted in a score where all five guys touched the ball," coach Law­rence Frank said. "To have seven guys in dou­ble fig­ures and to have a bunch of guys with mul­ti­ple as­sists, that's great."

Eight Detroit play­ers had at least two as­sists.

Lil­lard en­tered the day as the NBA's top rookie scorer, av­er­ag­ing 19.6 points per game. He missed his first 12 shots from the field against the Pis­tons.

Detroit is 4-3 since drop­ping its first eight games. The Pis­tons won for the first time when al­low­ing more than 90 points.

LaMar­cus Aldridge was back in the lineup for Port­land af­ter miss­ing a game with back spasms. He scored 32 points but didn't have enough help with Lil­lard strug­gling.

"I thought we were go­ing to win that game, but ev­ery time we got close, they made an­other play," Aldridge said. "I know we can do bet­ter than this — we shouldn't keep get­ting off to slow starts and play­ing this kind of de­fense. I don't know how to fix it."

Lil­lard fin­ished with 12 points on 4-of-18 shoot­ing.

"We were play­ing against one of the bet­ter rook­ies in the NBA, Damian Lil­lard, who has been play­ing very well," Knight said. "Even though LaMar­cus scored high to­night, he had to work for ev­ery­thing he got."

Knight shot 9 of 17 from the field. 

The Pis­tons shot 52.5 per­cent, lead­ing 54-49 at half­time and 82-73 af­ter Sin­gler's last-sec­ond 3-pointer in the third quar­ter.

Detroit went 9 of 15 from 3-point range and eclipsed its pre­vi­ous sea­son high of 106 points.

Greg Mon­roe had 20 points and 10 re­bounds for Detroit, and Sin­gler had 16 points on 6-of-7 shoot­ing and 10 re­bounds.

"Kyle, I thought, was out­stand­ing, play­ing a very, very com­plete game," Frank said. "De­fen­sively, he was very, very solid; ran the floor ex­tremely well, passed the ball well, re­bound­ing."

The Pis­tons led 75-64 in the third af­ter Ja­son Max­iell's dunk. Max­iell caught Port­land's Jared Jef­fries in the face with his left arm while dunk­ing with his right, send­ing Jef­fries down the tun­nel in­jured.

Lil­lard fol­lowed with an ac­ro­batic layup for his first field goal of the game. That started a 7-0 run that turned out to be Port­land's best push of the sec­ond half.

After Sin­gler's shot gave the Pis­tons a nine-point lead, rookie An­dre Drum­mond dunked on a fast break early in the fourth to put Detroit ahead 87-75. A three-point play by Rod­ney Stuckey made it 93-78.

Port­land did get the mar­gin down to six on Nico­las Ba­tum's 3-pointer with 1:14 re­main­ing, but Knight an­swered with a quick three-point play to make it 104-95.

"Lil­lard is their lead­ing scorer and I thought Bran­don did a very good job with the matchup of mak­ing ev­ery­thing very, very hard," Frank said.

NOTES: Jef­fries was be­ing eval­u­ated af­ter the game. ... Both teams were play­ing the sec­ond of back-to-back games af­ter los­ing in the New York area Sun­day. Detroit lost 121-100 to the Knicks, and Port­land fell 98-85 to the Nets.

Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) is fouled by Portland Trail Blazers center J.J. Hickson (21) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) is fouled by Portland Trail Blazers center J.J. Hickson (21) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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