Coverage Begins at 9:30 pm ET
Houston: 44-25 (27-8 home)
Margin: +3.8 ppg (+6.2 last 25%)
Pistons: 33-33 (16-16 road)
Margin: -0.5 (-1.4 last 25%)
Every season, the Rockets prove two things. First, when healthy, they are championship contenders. Second, they will never be healthy. Nonetheless, the Rockets seem poised for another strong finish, this time with Yao at the helm.
The latest incarnation of Rockets injury woes might be a case of addition by subtraction. Tracy McGrady has become more drama than he is worth, and Aaron Brooks is arguably an improvement over Rafer Alston. Still, Daryl Morey must know something I don't, cause a Brooks-Wafer backcourt simply shouldn't be winning, even if he did manage to pilfer Kyle Lowry from the hapless Grizzlies.
The Pistons will benefit from the absence of Carl Landry, who was shot on Tuesday morning in an apparent robbery attempt. That said, the Rockets certainly have the upper hand in the injury equation, and this is a tough place to win.
Ron Artest, ladies and gentlemen. Need I say more?
Keys for Detroit
Wear out Yao: His minutes are usually limited, and should be moreso as he tries to shake the flu bug. Houston doesn't have a lot of options off the bench right now. That said, "wear out Yao" should not be mistaken for "put Yao on the line", which is a bad decision.
Take it to the hoop: Houston is an excellent defense perimeter team, but lacks the athleticism to keep up with Detroit's stronger guards. Stuckey should be able to have his way with whomever Houston throws at him.
Steal Shane Battier's brain: And sell it for precious, precious gold.
Question of the Game
Does all of this experience for the bench help or hurt the Pistons come playoff time?