The Houston Rockets opened the weekend with an embarrassing
performance against one of the NBA’s best teams.
The Detroit Pistons let one slip away against a mediocre
Houston tries to bounce back from a 33-point defeat Saturday
night when it visits the Pistons, losers in eight of nine in the
After closing November with a five-game winning streak, the
Rockets (17-10) dropped to 4-5 this month with a 114-81 rout at the
hands of Indiana on Friday. Houston, averaging 106.1 points to rank
second in the league, was limited to its lowest output of the
“We had no answers for them. They just played way better than we
did,” said coach Kevin McHale, whose team was outrebounded 50-36
and outscored 18-8 in transition. “We didn’t play very well all
night. When you don’t play well that’s going to happen.”
Dwight Howard had 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, but
James Harden shot 3 of 14 and finished with 12 points – well below
his season mark of 23.9.
“We’ve got a bounce back game tomorrow in Detroit. We’ve got an
opportunity to go up there and play well against them. That’s how
we bounce back,” said Harden, whose team is 8-2 against the Eastern
Conference. “Our shots were just not going. We got good looks, but
then we’d miss a layup or turn the ball over. They are a good
defensive team, but the last several weeks we haven’t moved the
ball as well as we were, and we’ve got to keep working on
The Rockets have had their way with the Pistons (13-15) of late,
holding them to 88.2 points during a five-game winning streak in
the series. Houston is 8-1 against Detroit since the start of
The Pistons had won three of four before falling 116-106 to
Charlotte on Friday. Detroit went up by as many as 20 points in the
second quarter but was outscored 41-17 in the fourth.
“We just lost focus,” said Brandon Jennings, who had 26 points
and five assists. “It happened so fast, I really don’t know what to
say. It’s kind of unbelievable what just happened.”
Andre Drummond posted 14 points, 15 boards and a career
high-tying five blocks, and Josh Smith scored 18. Smith, who was at
one point rumored to join Howard in Houston this offseason, is
averaging 24.8 points and shooting 50.0 percent in the last four
While the Pistons have won six of seven as the visiting team,
they have dropped nine of 13 on their own court.
“It’s just funny that we finish games better on the road than we
do at home,” Jennings said. “Usually you would think it’s the
Rodney Stuckey has been held out the last two games with a sore
shoulder, leaving his status for Saturday unclear. Rockets point
guard Jeremy Lin could miss a fourth consecutive contest due to
back spasms. Center Omer Asik (thigh, knee), meanwhile, didn’t
travel with the team.
Houston has given up 110.4 points per game during a 1-4 stretch
on the road. The Rockets, though, have averaged 112.8 in going 5-1
in the second of back-to-backs.