HOUSTON, Texas - The Houston Rockets return home from their longest road trip of the season to host the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. Houston was 3-2 on a five-game sojourn, dropping the finale against the Los Angeles Clippers by a 101-93 margin on Wednesday. Dwight Howard scored 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting but his teammates combined to go 25-for-65 from the floor and the Rockets turned the ball over 20 times in just their sixth loss in 24 games since the start of the January.
Houston should have a chance to rediscover its high-scoring ways against Detroit, which gives up more points (103.5) than all but four teams and allows opponents to shoot a league-high 46.9 percent. The Pistons let San Antonio post a 53.7-percent mark in a 120-110 setback Wednesday, Detroit's third straight loss and its sixth in the last seven games. Even without All-Star James Harden, the Rockets produced a 114-97 victory at Detroit in the first meeting on Dec. 21, getting 35 points and 19 boards from Howard.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, CSN Houston
ABOUT THE PISTONS (23-35): The two-game swing through Texas is part of a harrowing stretch run for Detroit, which plays 16 of its last 25 games on the road starting with the loss in San Antonio. Unless they can improve upon a defense that has allowed an average of 112 points over the last five contests, the Pistons - who have dropped six straight away from home - will struggle to remain relevant in the Eastern Conference playoff race. While the club is suffering through a swoon on that end of the floor, Josh Smith has stepped up his game on offense, averaging 22.8 points over the last four games.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (39-19): The first encounter was hyped as Howard vs. Pistons center Andre Drummond, but the veteran was too good, securing a season high with the 35 points and throwing in five assists and three blocks. Howard has also picked it up of late, averaging 22.7 points on 26-of-33 shooting in the last three games. The big man, who is so often fouled late by desperate teams hoping to take advantage of his shaky free-throw shooting, has continued to improve in that department with a modest 16-for-26 showing in that span, and is shooting 63.8 percent at the line since Jan. 29.
1. The Rockets have won the last seven meetings at home.
2. Pistons G Brandon Jennings left Wednesday's game with a toe injury and is considered day to day.
3. Houston F Chandler Parsons is 19-for-57 from the floor over his last four games.
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