Detroit Pistons beat Rockets in odd game

Jan 20, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) reacts while playing against the Houston Rockets in the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 20, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) reacts while playing against the Houston Rockets in the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons were able to sweep the Houston Rockets despite one of the oddest third quarters you’ll ever see.

169. Final. 123. 64. 114

The Pistons didn’t get a shot attempt until the nine minute mark in the third quarter. No it wasn’t because they turned the ball over. It was because the Rockets deployed the nastiest hack-a-dre strategy to start the third quarter, and it worked as the Pistons nine point lead evaporated to a Rockets lead.

Still, the Pistons found a way to win thanks in no small part to the starters. Each Piston starter had at least 17 points tonight. Everyone who came off the bench provided quality minutes. The only blemish was of course Andre Drummond and his free throw shooting.

Now, on to the game grades:

B+. Reggie flirted with a double-double with 17 points and nine assists ( and only one turnover). He also had some good shots in the third quarter to help the Pistons weather the Rockets’ storm and help get the Pistons’ offense back into rhythm. . PG. Pistons. REGGIE JACKSON

Pistons. KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE. B+. Caldwell-Pope was on fire to start the game. He made pull-up jumpers, fadeaways with his back to the basket, open and contested threes, and played hard on defense, though Harden did have a really good game. (Harden had a triple-double midway through the third quarter). I really don’t know why so many Pistons fans have a problem with Caldwell-Pope. Even when his shot isn’t falling he plays hard and plays good defense, and he usually finds a way to provide offense through his defense. Also, his 13 first quarter points were huge.. SG

A.  Ersan had 18 points and six rebounds. Honestly, before I checked the box score, I thought he was nearing 10 rebounds. Ilyasova did a really good job getting the Pistons extra shots and he did an even better job weaving his way to the rim from some tough buckets.. PF. Pistons. ERSAN ILYASOVA

B+. Morris was quiet for most of the night and he missed a lot of makable shots. But he still produced, and his confidence never wavered. His three pointer near the end of the game sealed the game. The Pistons will take 22 and five from him on somewhat of an off night.. SF. Pistons. MARCUS MORRIS

This should have been a game that Andre Drummond dominated, with Dwight Howard leaving the game in the first few minutes of plat with an ankle sprain. Instead, it was a game where Drummond’s biggest weakness–free throw shooting–kept him on the bench. The Rockets started the second half with five straight intentional fouls by K.J. McDaniels. McDaniels literally only saw the court tonight to nearly foul out. At the time the Pistons were holding a nine point lead. By the time McDaniels–and other varies Rockets’ players were done, the Pistons were down. The Pistons didn’t even get their first shot attempt up until the nine minute mark in the third quarter.<div></div><div>I’ve never understood poor free throw shooting, much less sub 30 percent free throw shooting, where Drummond was 7/24 to that point. He has to get better or the Pistons will simply have to play without their best player.</div><div></div><div>Say what you want in the comment section, but regardless of what Drummond did good tonight, he gets a failing grade for his abysmal free throw shooting. 13/36 from the line simply won’t cut it. </div>. C. Pistons. ANDRE DRUMMOND. F

B+. Johnson rebounded well and made good decisions on the court. He also played well on defense and hit 5-6 free throws. His shot wasn’t falling, but that was ok because he impacted several other areas well. Really good game for the rookie that can’t be appreciated as much by just looking at the box score.. SF. Pistons. STANLEY JOHNSON

A. Baynes was awesome in relief of Drummond. He rebounded well and hit the shots he was supposed to. The Pistons are lucky to have him. I’d imagine if he was a starter that he would probably average a double-double, because when he gets solid minutes he usually is good for at least 10 and 10.. C. Pistons. ARON BAYNES

B. Tolliver is another guy that won’t jump out on the stat book, but he played really well on all levels. He hit some nice shots and hustled on defense. He also did a good job moving the ball which is what you ask for from your role players.. PF. Pistons. ANTHONY TOLLIVER

BRANDON JENNINGS. C. Quiet night for Jennings, but he played with good tempo –as he always does– and hit a nice three late in the game. Hopefully Jennings can continue to improve his shooting, because he’s a player we’ve grown accustomed to seeing more from. . PG. Pistons

Pistons. STAN VAN GUNDY. C. I thought Van Gundy stuck with Drummond too long, but I also think he was still feeling out how the situation was going to play out with the Rockets fouling Drummond for four straight minutes in the third quarter. That stretch could have cost the Pistons the game. Luckily, Van Gundy learned from this and pulled Drummond with just under six minutes left in the fourth when the Rockets started intentionally fouling again. This doesn’t reflect Van Gundy’s grade, but it really sucks that he has to bench his best player for long stretches because of poor free throw shooting. In the future, the Pistons could have a very different outcome if this situation keeps occurs again. After teams take a look at the film, I’d wager that we begin to see the hack-a-Dre strategy deployed even more in the future.. Head Coach