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Pistons vs. Rockets final score: Luke Kennard gets baptism by fire via James Harden in OT loss

Kennard played great at both ends until overtime when James Harden took over

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons dropped an ugly back-and-forth game against the Houston Rockets in overtime 100-96 thanks to James Harden scoring 10 of Houston’s 12 fourth-quarter points.

The Rockets were without star Chris Paul and for a while it looked like Detroit was going to steal one against the NBA-best Rockets. But eventually the Pistons ran out of gas.

The game went into overtime courtesy of a controversial goal tend call against Andre Drummond that gave PJ Tucker a bucket to tie the game at 88 late. The ball was clearly falling away from the cylinder but apparently there was enough ball over the rim or they didn’t like that Drummond touched the net during his rebound attempt.

The relevant part of the official NBA rule is:

4. Once it has touched the rim and is either using the rim as its base or has bounced off the rim and is in the imaginary cylinder above the rim. (Note, a ball that is rolling off the rim may be touched, even if it is still in contact with the rim because it has no chance to go in); and

5. Generally, touch or vibrate the rim, backboard or net in a way that affects a shot attempt

Before his explosion in OT, Harden struggled mightily against the Pistons. Detroit made him take plenty of tough shots but he was even missing his wide-open looks. Harden finished the game 4-of-20 from the floor including missing all eight of his 3-point attempts. But he had 18 free-throw attempts including a couple courtesy of inopportune fouls by Luke Kennard in overtime — one being on a 3-point attempt.

Kennard played a great all-around game but struggled in overtime when Harden really turned up the pressure. Kennard made some smart cuts and decisions with the ball and finished with 14 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

He was also 0-of-5 from the 3-point line but that was par for the course for the Pistons all night. The Pistons were an atrocious 6-of-38 from the perimeter for a tidy 15.8 percent mark. Houston was only marginally better — 12 makes on a somewhat astonishing 51 attempts. They only had 48 two-point attempts on the night.

Blake Griffin had 21 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his first triple double in a Detroit uniform while Andre Drummond had 17 points and 20 rebounds. Reggie Jackson had his worst game since returning from injury and could do absolutely nothing on the court after scoring two quick buckets (for his only four points) in the opening minutes.

Eric Gordon scored a game-high 22 points. The Pistons have still not won a game against a good, well-rested opponent in the Blake Griffin era.