(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will try to stay at a competitive level when the struggling Detroit Pistons pay a visit to the Moda Center Friday night.
The Trail Blazers posted an important win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and handed the visitors a 105-100 setback. LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points with 14 rebounds, Nicolas Batum notched 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Robin Lopez chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds for Portland, which has won six of seven and 10 of its last 14 games.
Corey Brewer had the hot hand for the Rockets, but missed on a 3-point attempt in the waning moments. Brewer scored 23 points for Houston, including 17 in the fourth quarter. There were 13 lead changes and nine ties between the two teams jockeying for a high seed in the Western Conference.
"It was big game for us, and we all knew it. I thought everyone was locked in, focused and ready to go," Aldridge said. "Our guys played great."
Portland held Rockets All-Star James Harden to four points in the second half, which was a huge difference in the game.
"Just an off night," Harden said.
The Blazers are a half-game ahead of Houston for the West's third seed and 1 1/2 games behind Memphis.
Batum has been rolling along the past four games with 15 or more points in that span. He turned the trick in seven consecutive games from Jan. 5-15, 2013.
The Blazers are 32-6 when scoring 100 or more points and 21-4 when making 45 percent or better from the floor. The made 45.7 percent of their shots versus Houston and will shoot for a fifth straight win in Rip City.
Portland is 27-6 as the host this season and will play five straight and seven of the next eight games as the guest.
Detroit hopes to put the brakes on an eight-game losing streak and is 0-2 on a four-game western road trip.
The losing ways continued for the Pistons with Wednesday's 105-98 setback against the Golden State Warriors, as Andre Drummond's 22 points and 27 rebounds went to waste. He grabbed 17 offensive boards.
"Eight in a row is terrible and it's weighing on all of us, but there's nobody giving up or giving in here," said Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy.
Greg Monroe tallied 20 points and eight rebounds, while Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 and 13 points, respectively. Detroit's bench managed just 25 points.
Van Gundy needs six wins for 400 in his career as a head coach and may not get closer on this trip. The Pistons have lost five in a row on the road and will visit the improving Utah Jazz Saturday.
The Pistons are 11-20 away from The Palace this season.
Detroit sustained a 98-86 home loss to Portland on Dec. 9, as Aldridge led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Monroe countered with 22 points and 10 boards for the Pistons, who have lost four straight and 10 of the past 12 meetings between the teams.
Portland is unbeaten in the last six games at home versus Detroit and hasn't lost as the host in this series since March 14, 2007 (87-75).
Aldridge is averaging 27.4 ppg over his last seven appearances against the Pistons. He has posted five straight double-doubles against them.