Detroit Pistons vs. Houston Rockets Pick & Prediction JANUARY 12th 2024

The Houston Rockets lamented a missed opportunity on Wednesday night. They can’t ask for a better chance to collect their first win during their current six-game road trip when they visit Detroit on Friday.

The Pistons have dropped to 3-35 while losing six straight. Detroit has lost 34 of its last 35 games.

The Rockets dropped back to .500 with a 124-119 overtime loss to the Bulls. Houston outscored Chicago 29-18 in the fourth quarter to force overtime but couldn’t finish off the comeback. The Bulls scored the last 10 points of the game.

“I think it’s just our execution down the stretch has just got to be better. We can’t wait that long to play hard,” forward Jabari Smith Jr. said.

Western Conference Player of the Week Alperen Sengun went scoreless in the first half, then erupted for 25 points.

“He played one half of basketball, basically,” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said. “Decided to show up at halftime and exerted himself the way he normally does. And so, (we) saw the player that he is, more so than when he was not in the first half with zero points. So for whatever reason, took him more time to get going.”

The Rockets are missing two of their best defenders. Dillon Brooks is dealing with an oblique injury and Tari Eason is battling a lower leg ailment.

“Our defense in the fourth quarter when we were down, it was like that’s how we want it to be all the time,” Smith said. “I mean, that’s how it was all the time. We’ve just gotta get back to that. Back to the consistent defense, consistent stops. With two of our best defenders out, it’s been tough. You know, just trying to get back to that same energy and effort we had to start the season.”

Houston has already defeated Detroit this month. Sengun had 26 points and nine assists in a 136-113 home victory on New Year’s Day.

The Rockets took control of that game by outscoring the Pistons 47-25 in the third quarter.

Detroit played catchup virtually its entire game against San Antonio, the Western Conference’s worst team, on Wednesday. The Spurs were up 63-51 at halftime and led by double digits throughout the second half.

“The focus and discipline wasn’t there,” Detroit coach Monty Williams said after his team’s 130-108 loss. “There’s nobody to look at other than me, not having guys ready to play.”

The Pistons are playing without leading scorer Cade Cunningham, who is recovering from a left knee strain. Detroit was led on Wednesday by second-year center Jalen Duren, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Counterpart Victor Wembanyama notched his first career triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in just 21 minutes.

“It’s a lack of energy and effort,” Duren said of the Pistons’ inability to turn things around. “We’re the type of team where we need energy the whole game.”

Duren’s point total was his second highest this season.

“I think he’s a guy that has more levels to his game than he’s shown. He’s more than a lob threat or finisher around the basket,” Williams said. “He can do some stuff with the ball that’s unique to a guy his size. We want to encourage him to do it.”

–Field Level Media

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