Game Day: Houston Rockets versus Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons arrive in town to offer up the Houston Rockets next match following the overtime classic match (albeit a loss) to the Clippers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For the Houston Rockets who lost to the Pistons earlier this season Andre Drummond and his squads arrival should elicit the desire for revenge since the earlier match in Detroit ended in a bad loss on November 30th.
The other narrative will be the amazing Dwight Howard performance that went to the wayside due to the loss and his improving play throughout the past 4 to 6 weeks. He’ll be matched up versus his what in essence could be described as the player most likely to develop into a Dwight Howard type player.
In fact, you can be sure Stan Van Gundy saw that similarity when he began to sign players to surround Drummond with and didn’t seem too shocked by the departure of Greg Monroe this past summer to Milwaukee. The two never seemed to gel playing beside each other and Van Gundy added Ilyasova looking to replicate a stretch four with passing ability similar to … yep you got it Hedo Turkoglu.
As you ponder that, let’s break down the match:
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston TX,
Game Time: 8:00 PM EST – 7:00 PM CT
TV: ROOT in Houston and FS Detroit
Radio: 790 AM and 105.1 FM
November 30: HOU 105 – 116 DET
March 6, HOU 103 – 93 DET
Feb 1 HOU 101-114 DET
- Jodie Meeks – back, targeting February return
- Patrick Beverley – ankle, will be a game time decision
- Sam Dekker – back surgery November 20 , will be out 3 months
- Donatas Motiejunas – returned to injured list after suffering issues with his back
If Beverley can’t go expect to see Jason Terry (not Lawson) again suit up for the start.
The Key Match-up:
The key match-up to watch here will be the front courts. Both teams have size with Andre Drummond leading the league in rebounding with 15.5 rebounds per game. Where Drummond has shown growth is his scoring (17.6 ppg) and in his defense. The timing of this visit to Houston though may work out perfectly for the Rockets as Howard has been on a roll of his own having just posted 36 points and 26 rebounds in his last outing versus the Clippers.
Last time out Drummond got the better of Howard in Detroit with 24 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks and was a plus +13 on the floor. Comparatively Howard scored 8 points, had 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks and was a plus +10. Expect Howard to be looking for some revenge on his home court.
Caldwell-Pope is an under rated up and coming star who has shown capability on both ends of the court and will be tasked with keeping Harden in check while Beverley if he suits up will look to keep Jackson in check.
Keys To Winning:
- Match the Pistons’ Defense: The Pistons lead almost every defensive category and while the Rockets have been demonstrating better cohesiveness and taking fewer/shorter lapses in game they’ll need to be dialed in for this game as Detroit are a solid defensive team.
- Win the rebound battle: the Pistons are a strong rebounding team led by Drummond. For the Rockets to get the ball out quickly and capitalize in transition they’ll need to be the better rebounding team. If the Pistons do this they’ll have a decided offensive advantage as well.
- Take Drummond and Jackson Out of the Mix:Obviously if the Rockets can limit Jackson’s penetration and the pick and roll action between him and Drummond they’ll gain an advantage.
- Communication and motion: I’ve noticed in recent outings what was working to make the Rockets better was their communication on both ends and when the team is getting motion on court. Often when things aren’t working it’s Harden who causes the problems as he is the worst iso-ball offender which often leads to the team standing and watching him dribble. Further the problem with Harden isn’t that he can’t play defense or move laterally it’s that he chooses for whole segments of games to stop playing defense at all. This puts undue pressure on all his teammates. Trevor Ariza and Patrick Beverley are the two players who end up having to make up for Harden’s lapses the majority of the time which also may explain why they fluctuate offensively.
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The odds makers are favored by 3.5 points with an over-under of 207 points with early action leaning strongly in favor of hte Rockets.
Most feel the Rockets have turned a corner and recognize the need to stay on track. I’m not so sure as it still feels like what Houston do has more to do with Harden. The fact he has to score inordinately high totals speaks volumes and further the fact there seems to be some sort of agenda on his part.
Why else would he literally stand there eating 3/4’s of the shot clock up or just suddenly chose to stop defending? It feels like he wants a move made and this is his way of drilling home that point. If not, then perhaps Harden is simply a player who without options (last season) excelled but now that he has them can’t incorporate them into his play book.
Whatever the case, I’m not sold they’ll be able to bets the Pistons without Harden scoring close to 30 points especially since the Pistons have been playing better lately, but fortunately for the Rockets the one major weakness of Detroit is the road.
Still they’ve got Brandon Jennings back and rookie Stanley Johnson playing well and if nothing else look at the beating they gave to Golden State!
For more exciting news and stories on the Detroit Pistons visit our affiliate Fansided site: Piston Powered Plus check our our Preseason Team Preview of the Detroit Pistons :
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