Houston Rockets Game Day: Josh Smith Seeks Redemption
Record: 23-37, Eastern: 12, Record: 41-20, Western: 4,
Central: 5th, last ten 4-6 Southwest: 2nd, last ten 6-4
Detroit Pistons vs Houston Rockets
Fri Mar 6, 8:00 PM EST – FSDT, CSNH, RTSW
Toyota Center – Houston, TX
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- Brandon Jennings out for season with torn Achilles tendon
- Patrick Beverley (foot) and Terrence Jones (back) are both scheduled to play as per ESPN Injury report
- Kostas Papanikolaou remains day to day with an ankle sprain
- Dwight Howard continues his off court training of swimming, weight lifting and tread mill running. As per Houston Chronicle: underwent an examination Wednesday with the Rockets’ team physician, who confirmed that the center’s recovery is “on schedule,”.(projected to miss 6-8 weeks)
Detroit: rank 21st with a negative -3.9 last ten: 19th negative -3.6
Houston: rank 24th negative -6.6 last ten: 6th positive +6.8
Detroit: rank 17th with 34.9, last ten: 30th – 26.9
Houston: rank 27th with 31.4 last ten: 12th – 40.3
Points Per Game:
Detroit:: rank 16th with 33.3 points per game, last ten: 25th – 28.1 ppg
Houston: rank 25th with 29.1 points per game, last ten: 10th – 36.7ppg
Though their season totals have ranked higher since the acquisition of Corey Brewer and Josh Smith as well as the return of Terrence Jones the Houston bench has seen a steady upward climb both offensively and defensively. Conversely Detroit has been sputtering especially since Reggie Jackson joined the team and Detroit gave up some key players which thinned out their bench.
Obviously Detroit will look to take advantage of their big front court without Dwight Howard in the Rocket line-up. Houston can counter by making the Detroit bigs have to more on the offensive end with their versatility of being able to shoot in the paint or stretch them out to the perimeter. The other big factor will be Detroit’s defense as a whole, they have a tendency to play in stretches and if they get down they’ll basically concede. Facing their former teammate Josh Smith this might not be a given but the Pistons are losing ground quickly on the race for the East’s 8th seed.
For Houston, James Harden will once again be amped to play given his suspension courtesy of LeBron James’ complaining and then the loss versus Memphis due to a no call on Zach Randolph’s obvious foul. If Detroit put Jackson on Harden it could get ugly quickly for the Pistons. Of note, the loss of D.J. Augustine has really hurt Detroit as he provided a calming effect for the team and was very capable of involving the entire team. Jackson is more of a shoot first point guard so the team is still struggling to find their niche.
Keys to Winning:
- Slow the production of Jackson’s distribution and encourage him to be a shooter
- Shut down the big front line of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe by either getting them in foul trouble or shutting off the paint and making them work on the perimeter offensively
- Control the ball and keep turnovers down.
- Use the bench head band boys to build or maintain a lead
- Utilize your advantage: Pace and 3 point shooting. Rockets rank third in pace (Detroit: 20) and get up an additional 8.7 three point attempts and make 3.2 more than the Pistons.
The odds makers favor Houston by 7.5 points which is significant given how big the Pistons front court is. It makes sense though given Harden’s only played once this week in that heartbreaking loss to Memphis (on the no call) and Josh Smith will be dialed in looking to get his own redemption facing his former squad. Detroit have not gelled with Reggie Jackson and it remains to be seen if he truly is a starting point guard or a very talented reserve. Look for Houston to make a statement and try to get an early lead since they play tomorrow on a back to back (so ideally they’ll want to rest their starters if possible). I’ll take Houston by 10 as they get back on track.
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