The Detroit Pistons (11-15) took care of business in Houston today, defeating the Rockets (17-9) 115-107. Despite missing Andre Drummond (Avocado), the Pistons shut down* James Harden. Here are 3 makes and misses from tonight’s impressive showing.
*Still had 39 points. Sheesh
1st Make: The Harden Rules
Love him or hate him, James Harden has been having one of the most dominant scoring stretches of the decade, if not the century, if not all time. Averaging 39.3 points per game and coming off back-to-back 50 point nights, it felt like another incredible scoring show would occur at the expense of the Pistons.
But that never came. As Harden missed shot after shot, en route to a 14-33 night, it looked like he was coming back down to Earth. Well, Bruce Brown made that a reality, forcing Harden out of his element the entire night.
The fact that I have to say it’s impressive to hold Harden to 39 points just shows how great of a player the Beard is. However, Brown arguably played the best individual defense against the former MVP this season.
1st Miss: The Tragedy of Blake Griffin
It’s getting harder to watch every week.
I remember scurrying to YouTube during my 1st class of the day in high school to see what Blake did the night before. I was in awe of the grace and ferocity he showcased while he soared and destroyed any mortal below him.
Sadly, those days are only memories now. After he left today’s game with knee soreness, the reality that his career is coming to an end is closer than it appears.
As more games progress, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Blake is reaching his twilight years. His attempts to dunk become more and more futile, and it’s a depressing sight to see. I hope he finds the Fountain of Youth, but until then, it’ll be a sore sight to see Blake waste away on the injury report.
(Get a load of this guy)
2nd Make: The Replacements
Along with Blake’s ailments, the Pistons were already feeling the avocado reign of terror that kept Andre Drummond out of this contest. Starting Thon Maker? This game looked like it was going to be a long one.
But what can I say? From the get-go, the Pistons’ other guys decided to remind us that they still exist. Tony Snell, Markieff Morris, Christian Wood and Langston Galloway stepped up and hit massive shots to maintain control of the ballgame.
Even Thon Maker, despite his 4 points on the night, came up with several blocks and boards that helped fill the absence felt by not having Drummond tonight. He was admirable, which is something that can rarely be said at this point.
During the first half, it felt like the entire roster couldn’t miss. Although the next half wouldn’t be as pretty, each player hit crucial shots to stay ahead of Houston.
2nd Miss: 2nd Half Turnovers
While the Pistons held the lead the majority of the game, the second half showed signs that Detroit could literally throw it all away. Turnovers (14 total) plagued the team in the final quarter as the Rockets slowly brought the game to within 5 in the waning minute.
While the Pistons managed to not let mistakes decide the outcome of the game, these errors must be addressed for future match-ups.
3rd Make: Guns and Roses
I could already sense Tony Dombrowski smiling from miles away, as Derrick Rose (20 points) and Luke Kennard (22 points) dominated against the Rockets.
For a 3-possession stretch, Rose scored on each time down the court with vintage moves that could’ve brought 2011 back. Kennard shot 4 for 7 from 3-point land tonight, which was crucial for the Pistons’ offensive attack.
Here’s to hoping for even better performances from this duo in the future.
Harden’s 3rd Miss: Another 3 While Being Clamped by Bruce Brown
Be mad, Rockets fans. Be mad that you don’t have Bruce.
The Pistons will take on the Wizards in Detroit on Monday.
Featured Image: Michael Wyke/Associated Press