Three Takeaways From Houston Rockets Loss to Pistons

Jan 20, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) dribbles againast Houston Rockets guard Jason Terry (31) in the second half at Toyota Center. Pistons won 123 to 114. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 20, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) dribbles againast Houston Rockets guard Jason Terry (31) in the second half at Toyota Center. Pistons won 123 to 114. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s Deja Vu all over again! Like my co-writer Ben Casey‘s headline read from Daily Rocket Science, “Can We Catch a Break!” After a brief five game winning streak, the Houston Rockets are now losers of three of their last four games.

After the overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night, the Rockets got demolished by the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday on their home floor. Although they gave up an early 12-4 lead in the first quarter, Houston’s chances of winning this game disintegrated just minutes after the opening tip.

Dwight Howard‘s night came to an unexpected end, after he took a hard foul in the back by Pistons’ center Andre Drummond. After the collision with Rockets point guard Ty Lawson, Howard’s suffered an ankle sprain and did not return to the game. Houston is ruled out for Friday night’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, what is certain is the Rockets need to find answers to end their losing streak fast.

Three Takeaways VS Pistons

The Hack-A-Strategy Does Not Work

Down by nine at the start of the second half, JB Bickerstaff decided to use the Hack-A-Drummond strategy to get the Rockets back into the game. They begin the third quarter fouling Drummond five times in a matter of 10 seconds.

At first it wasn’t a bad strategy. Drummond went 5 of 16 from the charity stripe, and the Rockets rallied back to take their first lead of the game midway through the third. However, when the Pistons needed him to make his free throws later in the fourth, Drummond looked far from the 35.4 percent free throw shooter he has become.

Down the stretch, Drummond hit 4 out of 6 shots from the foul line. While his teammates scored from anywhere one the court, the Rockets watched in despair as the Pistons took a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter.

When it’s your night to lose, there is nothing a team can do! The Hack-A-Strategy never works! All it does is prolong the game, and take the energy out of the players. What makes matters even worst, the team who is doing the intentional fouling still manage to lose the game.

It’s understandable that players should take the time and improve on their free throw shooting. However, hopefully one day Adam Silver will put an end to this Hack-A-Whoever nonsense.

Perhaps if the Rockets played better defense, Bickerstaff would not had to convert to the Hack-A-Drummond strategy.

'Hack' a #Drummond!. McDaniels hace 5faltas en 9segundos al pívot,que falló 23TL en el partido(récord) @nikolaloncar

— (@NBA_flow) January 21, 2016

Another Great Game Wasted

Much like Dwight Howard’s 36 points 26 rebounds performance, the Rockets wasted another great game from their other all-star player.

James Harden posted a career high of 17 rebounds, while scoring 33 points and dishing out 14 assists. In the loss, Harden also achieved another career milestone. During the Rockets 15-5 run in the third, Harden scored his 1,000 career 3 point field goal. Making him the seventh youngest player to hit 1,000 3 pointers in NBA history.

By far this game was one of Harden’s best of the season. In the absence of Howard, Harden led the way for the Rockets. At the half, the beard scored just about half of Houston’s 46 points with 17. It a shame that the Rockets wasted two great all-time performances from both Harden and Howard. What makes matters even worse, in a few weeks no one will remember the career nights they had, only the two heartbreaking losses from  both games.

Congrats @JHarden13 on becoming the youngest player in NBA history to hit 1K 3-Pointers. (26 years & 167 days old).

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 21, 2016

A Second Chance?

Ty Lawson doing work

Perhaps the most compelling news of the night came just minutes before the opening tip. With Patrick Beverley sidelined with a sprained left ankle, Ty Lawson was added into the starting line. This was Lawson’s first start since November 16th.

He got off to a slow start. Lawson only scored two points in the first 12 minutes. However, he would managed to have his most effective night of the season. When Harden needed someone to help carry the offensive load, Lawson scored 12 of his 16 points in the second quarter.

Not only did he score, but created a few scoring options for his teammates. For the first time all season, the Rockets had a dominating backcourt. Lawson and Harden combine for 51 points. There highest total together on the court all season.

Like Harden, this was Ty Lawson’s best performance of the season. Unfortunately, it came in a loss. Hopefully his performance would give him a second life in Houston. Don’t give up on Ty Lawson just yet!

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