Detroit, MI– Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson led the Detroit Pistons (9-7) over the Houston Rockets (9-8) by a final score of 116-111, in what would be an overtime thriller.
Both teams had met on Wednesday where the Rockets won by a final tally of 126-124 with Harden scoring 43 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dropping nine dimes. So Detroit had an opportunity to return the favor and hand the Rockets a loss just two days after taking one. And what an exciting game it turned out to be in a tale of two halves.
In the first half and for a stretch in the third quarter, the Pistons did a good job of dictating the pace of the game. The Houston Rockets during their five-game winning streak were playing one of the more slower paces in the NBA but were number one in offensive efficiency. However, when Detroit got off to a fast start, it seemed that Houston wanted to match the pace of the Pistons. That didn’t help their cause.
Andre Drummond had a full stat line by halftime with 16 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, and three steals. He did a good job of taking advantage of the mismatches inside on the offensive end, blocking shots and being a force on the glass for the Pistons. He finished the contest with 23 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks. Four of those blocks were on Harden.
Detroit as a team did a great job in making things extremely difficult for Harden tonight. He finished with 33 points and eight assists in the contest, but he shot 33 percent from the field and 27 percent from downtown. Now there were times where he was able to be that crafty guard, draw fouls and get to the line. But, the Pistons made sure that he felt pressure with every shot he took.
The big knock on the Pistons tonight came in the second and part of the third quarter. Detroit had a 61-56 advantage over the Rockets going into halftime and had a chance to blow the game out of the water as they went up by as many as 14 in the third quarter. However, they started going away from what made them successful in that first half. They stopped trying to dump it inside and started to settle for jump shots and were no longer quicker to the ball for offensive rebounds.
When they did that, Houston began to get into a rhythm in the third, finishing the period on a 21-6 run and taking a one-point lead going into the fourth, 79-78. At that point, Houston started to smell blood in the water. Chris Paul would begin to lead the final period charge for the Rockets while Harden was on the bench. He made shot after shot after being irrelevant for a large sum of the game. Then once Harden returned to action, he began making his shots.
With Harden now in a rhythm, Houston returned to its slower pace and took control of the tempo of the game. In addition, they would then be the team quicker to the ball and forcing Detroit to take shots they didn’t want to take. Yet, even with Detroit going away from what made them successful for much of the game, the Pistons kept it close in the final moments.
Griffin had a never say die attitude, finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. He also knocked down a HUGE three late in regulation to put the Pistons up by two, 98-96, after a 15-foot jump shot by Harden had given the Rockets the lead just one play prior.
An Eric Gordon layup would send the game into overtime, but you could feel the momentum shift in Detroit’s favor after Griffin’s long-range bomb from outside. In addition, it would be Griffin and Jackson who brought it home for the Pistons.
Jackson, who was rather cold himself for the lion share of the game, came alive in the fourth quarter and overtime. He finished with 22 points, four rebounds, and six assists and did a great job of getting to the charity stripe, going 12-for-14.
The momentum swing would also make the Rockets go back to trying to speed up their pace, which in turn would cause them to make mistakes and help the Pistons close out the contest.
The Pistons are now 2-2 in their overtime games and snapped the Rockets’ undefeated streak against Eastern Conference teams this season and the two teams split the season series at one game apiece.
Detroit will play Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 25. The Rockets will hit the road once again and face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 24.