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. “I thought Brandon had a tremendous floor game.”
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. ... Aldridge shot 12 of 22 from the field and had 10 rebounds. ... Detroit outscored Portland 56-36 in the paint.