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Pistons vs. Rockets preview: It can’t get worse than a 36-point loss to the Sixers ... could it?

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Pistons have little time to lick their wounds after pounding by Philly, turn around and face struggling Houston

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Full disclosure — I did not watch the Detroit Pistons get absolutely waxed by 36 points by the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. I had no particular foresight about the impending doom, but in a complete stroke of luck decided to throw in a couples movies and enjoy the evening being wowed by Dunkirk (very good, tense) and American Made (shockingly fun, like if Goodfellas and Ocean’s 11 had a Tom Cruise baby).

I will also be skipping out on tonight’s festivities against the Houston Rockets. More movies await. Still, last night’s performance begs the question — could it happen all over again versus a superior Houston Rockets team?

Game Vitals

When: Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Odds: +5.5

Analysis

Let’s make this simple — the Houston Rockets are by far the most prolific 3-point shooting team in the NBA. They hoist 43.2 per game and hit 36.6 percent from deep. The Pistons, meanwhile, is a top-10 team in terms of lowest frequency of 3-point shots, but they give up 37.5 percent on the ones they do allow — 24th in the NBA.

To be fair, part of that is just straight up bad luck. Detroit actually gives up very few open and wide open 3-point looks, according to stats.nba.com. Still, as Pistons fans, it seems like those 3-point barrages come in spurts and also cocme at the worst possible time.

There is not much of a worst time than now with the team scuffling somewhat and seemingly at a crossroads yet again. Are they buyers or sellers? What the hell should the team do with Avery Bradley? What is the ceiling for a team that can blow out opponents and beat the likes of the Celtics and Warriors but also lose multiple games by 30+ points?

The Rockets are struggling, too, and face a moderate period without superstar James Harden. Houston is just 2-6 in its last eight games with the only two victories coming at the hands of the Magic and Lakers. The defense has really taken a step back in those eight games with Houston giving up 113.5 points per 100 possessions.

Sounds like the unstoppable force of Houston’s porous defense is about to meet the immovable object of Detroit’s completely pitiful offense. We’ll see which one wins out.

Projected Lineup

Detroit Pistons
Ish Smith, Avery Bradley, Reggie Bullock, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond

Houston Rockets
Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, Clint Capela

Prediction

During the blood test scene in the Thing I will embarrass myself by jumping out of my skin despite the fact that I know what is coming.