The Rockets’ James Harden didn’t replicate his Opening Night performance, but he did just enough to once again beat the Pistons. This time, he scored 20 points and grabbed five rebounds in the Rockets’ 96-82 win over Detroit on Saturday night.
Brandon Knight had another solid game with 16 points, seven assists, four rebounds and 60% shooting. He did turn the ball over five times, though, in his 35 minutes of game action. Greg Monroe had his fourth straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but couldn’t really slow down the Rockets’ active big man, Omer Asik, who had 14 points, eight boards and four steals.
The deciding factor in this one was a late third quarter/early fourth quarter run by the Rockets that sealed the Pistons’ losing fate. The Pistons had gotten within four points, but an 11-2 Houston run made it a 69-56 game with under four minutes left in the third. In addition to scoring the first eight points of the fourth, they held the Pistons without a field goal until around six minutes left in the game. Detroit missed their first 10 shots of the quarter.
Another disturbing stat that is killing the Pistons this season is points in the paint. Detroit allowed 44 in this game while scoring just 28 of their own; they did hold the Rockets to just eight offensive rebounds and 40.2% shooting, however.
The Pistons will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second time in three days on Monday night. It will be their first home game since Opening Night, 12 days ago, and their sixth game against a Western Conference opponent.