Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#561 Detroit Pistons vs.
#562 Houston Rockets
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 9:05pm EST
Toyota Center, Houston
Written by Nick Raffoul



#561 Detroit
#562 Houston


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The Detroit Pistons will travel on the road to the Toyota Center on Saturday night for a Western Conference battle against the Houston Rockets.

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 Pistons

Detroit 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.

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 Magic

James 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.

Shooting guard Eric Gordon is reportedly taking the next step in his return from knee surgery, according to 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.

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This seems like a good spot to take the Pistons, who won’t have to travel far from Mexico to Houston for this game. Houston is going to be shorthanded without Russell Westbrook in this game and the Rockets’ supporting cast has already been paper-thin with the absence of Eric Gordon off of the bench. Detroit just suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Mavericks, giving up a 40-point triple-double to Luka Doncic in the process. Look for them to learn from that experience and use it to do a better job against Harden on the second night of a back-to-back. Take the Pistons to cover the number on the road in this matchup on Saturday night.

Prediction: Detroit Pistons

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Detroit has given up 100+ points in four straight games and they’ve given up at least 120 points in each of their last two losses. The Pistons had no success in defending Luka Doncic on Thursday and they could have a tough time stopping Harden from controlling the game in this one. The Rockets’ MVP candidate is fresh off of dropping 54 points on the Orlando Magic and he could be in for another big game here. Take this game to go over the projected total on Saturday night.

Prediction: Over

Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.