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Pistons vs. Rockets preview: Someone has to win (but probably not the viewers)

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Houston is looking to break a franchise-record losing streak.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

When the Houston Rockets beat the Detroit Pistons back on Jan. 22, it sparked a six-game win streak for Houston. Fast forward a couple months and things look much different. The Rockets have moved on from P.J. Tucker and DeMarcus Cousins, and they haven’t notched a victory since Feb. 4.

This time around, former Piston Christian Wood is back in the Houston lineup and looking to break a franchise-record 18-game losing streak.

Game Vitals

When: 8 p.m. EST
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
Odds: Pistons +2

Analysis

The Rockets certainly aren’t trying very hard to win games, but it’s hard to imagine they’re not in need of a morale boost based on their performance the last couple months.

They’ll have to do it against a Pistons team that, despite a 2-4 record, boasts a positive net rating for the month of March. Houston is dead last in the same category at a truly epic -15.3 points per 100 possessions.

Much of the Rockets’ recent struggles (non-James Harden category) have come as a result of a slew of injuries preventing them from finding a consistent rotation. But they appear to be turning a bit of a corner there.

Victor Oladipo and Christian Wood are not on the injury report for tonight. John Wall and Ben McLemore are both listed as questionable, while Eric Gordon and David Nwaba are out. That may not seem like turning the corner, but the injury-ravaged Rockets will take every morsel of good news they can get.

For the Pistons, Hamidou Diallo is out, Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder are doubtful, and Dennis Smith, Jr. is listed as questionable. Detroit fans can expect a similar rotation to what they saw in Wednesday night’s win over the Toronto Raptors.

If the Pistons are going to begin a winning streak, it will need to begin on the defensive end of the floor to take advantage of Houston’s league-worst offense in March. Christian Wood helps in that regard, but he isn’t likely to have a huge impact on their 30.8% three-point shooting this month.

When Detroit has the ball, they’ll look to exploit a Houston defense that hasn’t been particularly good either. And the addition of Christian Wood is unlikely to change that a whole lot.

The Pistons have found success in creating offense through dribble penetration and subsequent ball movement. Facing a Rockets backcourt that is either hobbled or not in game shape should continue to bring those opportunities for Detroit.

If Detroit’s ball handlers can exploit Houston’s ailing backcourt and the Pistons bring enough energy defensively, they have an excellent chance to win their second consecutive game.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (11-29)

Delon Wright, Frank Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee

Houston Rockets (11-28)

Victor Oladipo, Kevin Porter, Jr., Sterling Brown, Jae’Sean Tate, Christian Wood

Question of the Game

Will Christian Wood recognize anyone suiting up for his former team?