Detroit won’t have to travel very far for this one after taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Mexico City on Thursday. The Pistons find themselves on the outside looking in at the current Eastern Conference playoff picture with a 10-15 overall record. The Rockets, meanwhile, are in fourth place in the West after going 17-8 through their first 25 contests. Can Houston hold off the Pistons on the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday night?
Rebounding becoming a problem for PistonsDetroit had no answer for Mavericks’ star Luka Doncic in Mexico City on Thursday, as the Slovenian sensation posted a 41-point triple-double in a 122-111 victory over the Pistons. Andre Drummond had 23 points and 15 rebounds while Derrick Rose added 19 off of the bench to pace six Pistons’ players in double-figures on the night. Drummond was actually a game-time decision after reportedly having an allergic reaction to an avocado. He had swelling around his eyes on Wednesday but played as planned.
Look at Drummond’s reaction 😂 pic.twitter.com/TtljDwwD8h— Pistons Play (@PistonsPlay) December 13, 2019
After winning four of their previous five games, the Pistons had been trending up prior to their loss to the Mavericks. However, with three of those wins coming against the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New Orleans Pelicans, it is hard to trust their recent surge.
One of the main problems for Detroit this season has been cleaning up on the glass. Despite having one of the best rebounding centers in the NBA, Detroit ranks in the bottom half of the league in defensive rebounding percentage and their problems on the boards showed up once again in Thursday’s loss to the Mavericks. In that game, Detroit was outrebounded 52 to 34. When Drummond is off the floor, things really fall apart for the Pistons, who own a rebounding rate of only 47.6 percent with their star center on the bench.
Harden drops 54 in win over MagicJames Harden caught fire from 3-point range and the Rockets downed the Orlando Magic 130-107 on Friday night. Harden scored 54 points on 10-for-15 shooting from long-range while Russell Westbrook added 23 points for the Rockets, who shot 22-for-39 from 3-point range as a team. Ben McLemore also got into the act off of the bench hitting 6 of his 7 3-pointers in the win, which was Houston’s 12th in the last 15 meetings against the Magic. With 22 made 3-pointers, the Rockets now own four of the top-five spots for most made 3-pointers by a team this season.
James Harden (54 PTS) is on a mission.— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 14, 2019
Back-to-back 50+ point | 10+ 3PM games for The Beard 🤯 pic.twitter.com/62sVLtWAOi
Shooting guard Eric Gordon is reportedly taking the next step in his return from knee surgery, according to Chron.com. Originally scheduled to miss four-to-six weeks, Gordon has started the running portion of his rehab and is eyeing a late-December return to the court. The plan is to gradually increase his workload once he returns around Christmas. Prior to getting hurt, Gordon was averaging a career-low 10.9 points per game on a career-worst 30. Percent shooting from the field.
Houston will likely be playing this game without star guard Russell Westbrook, who has sat in both of the team’s two previous back-to-back games this year. That means that the Rockets will be forced to rely upon Harden once again, whose 39.2 points per game are the best mark in NBA history by anyone not named Wilt Chamberlain.
- Pistons are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.