Trips out west have not been kind to the Pistons. After the 11-point loss to the Rockets on Tuesday night, they have now dropped all five away games in the western** part of the country by a combined margin of 59 points. I guess they can't fit 'defense' in their carry on luggage. In four of the five losses, Detroit has allowed 100 or more points.
No matter what the Pistons packed for the trip, you have to give the Rockets credit for coming out guns a blazing in the first quarter, making nearly 70% of their shots and taking a 10-point lead into the second quarter. Luis Scola had 11 of their 29 first quarter points and they were all made with relative ease. He ended the game with a team-high 23 points on 10-16 shooting and eight rebounds.
For the rest of the game, the Rockets never cooled below the still scorching 55% mark shooting (when rounded up) and a lot of it had to do with their 28 team assists (27 points coming on the fast break) . Ten of those assists came from point guard, and Chris Rock look alike, Aaron Brooks. He had a terrific game, also finishing with 23 points.
Detroit's team line didn't look all that awful. They finished with 44 rebounds (the same as Houston), 26 assists, 96 total points, turned it over only nine times, and shot a decent 44%. Unfortunately, you can't win many games when you allow the other team to shoot an easy 55% and score 107 total points. It's science, which Houston has come to learn and love.
Richard Hamilton led the Pistons in scoring after a red-hot start. He finished with 21 points, but cooled off, shot only 10-22 from the field, and tweaked a hammy in the process. His status is uncertain for tomorrow night's game against the Hornets.
More after the jump.
- **Yes, I realize Houston isn't really that far west. Just go with it, okay?
- Tracy McGrady made a Richard Hamilton surprise return to the lineup, but did not start. He saw seven minutes, hit a three-pointer, and pulled down three rebounds. I'm sure that's encouraging for Rockets fans.
- Rodney Stuckey returned to frustrating form after being named Player of the Week. He started the game 1-10, while ill-advisedly forcing shot after shot. He finished with 17 points on 7-24 shooting. I understand the shots will not fall every night, but Stuckey makes his own bed with his shot selection. A majority of his misses tonight were in traffic when he should have passed or never even embarked on an attempt. Disappointing game from the youngster, regardless of his promising month thus far.
- Rookie Chase Budinger made the start in place of Trevor Ariza tonight for the Rockets. If you recall, Budinger was drafted by the Pistons in the 2nd round and then traded to the Rockets (nevermind what was agreed to behind closed doors). Budinger lit the Pistons up for 16 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. That's not nearly as disturbing as is his blindingly pale complexion. Someone needs to bring some sunlight into his life.
- The Pistons falling behind big allowed fans to see nine quality minutes from Pistons rookie, DaJuan Summers. He knocked down a three and had a driving score in that time. He finished with six points and two rebounds.
- Austin Daye also made the most of his minutes. He played 18 minutes, shot 5-8, and finished with 10 points. He also grabbed three rebounds and one block.
- Box score
- The Hornets are 8-3 at home this season and Chris Paul is back and in tip-top game shape. Let's hope Detroit can improve upon their 1-5 record in the second games of back-to-backs.