It isn’t often that an NBA game is effectively over after 12 minutes, but the Houston Rockets put that theory to the test in a big way on Saturday night. Houston blitzed the Detroit Pistons out of the gate to the tune of 41 points in the first quarter, and from there, it was an exercise in maintenance in route to a 118-110 final margin of victory.
Playing without stud wing Chandler Parsons, the Rockets didn’t seem to miss a beat as the combination of Jordan Hamilton (who started in place of Parsons) and Omri Casspi produced a total of 29 points between them. However, it was an across-the-board, balanced effort from the Houston offense in a typical way for the Rockets.
Houston attempted 33 three-pointers in the game, and while they made only 11 of them, they combined that with 33 free-throw attempts to get to the 118 points. James Harden led the way with 20 points and 12 assists, while Terrence Jones (22 points, 10 rebounds), Patrick Beverley (19 points, 5-for-9 on threes), and Dwight Howard (17 points, 8 rebounds) had big nights in support.
On the other side, the Pistons simply never recovered from their early deficit. Rodney Stuckey had a highly productive night off the bench with 23 points in 37 minutes, but aside from his effort and that of Andre Drummond (16 points, 17 rebounds), it was fairly ugly. Josh Smith shot Detroit clear out of the game with an 8-for-24 showing, and Brandon Jennings (4-13 FG, 11 points) wasn’t much better.
Houston continues to roll while Detroit continues to flounder, and you need not look further than the respective front offices for evidence of why the teams are doing what they are doing.