Detroit Pistons vs. Houston Rockets: Good, Bad & Ugly


Jerami Grant’s apparent game winner was canceled as soon after the summer, and the Detroit Pistons fell to a understaffed Houston Rockets team, 103-102. It was the second consecutive defeat in a heartbreaking fashion.

When you have the worst record in the NBA, the normal routine is to just get blown out. But the pistons make their many defeats exciting.

The latest thing was getting knocked down early, making a big comeback, and then nudging Jerami Grant three times (no foul) before his shot, which was a hair after the buzzer.

Detroit is now 3-12 in the season, with all losses but one to 10 points or less.

Here is the good, bad and ugly game of missiles

Detroit Pistons: The Good

Wayne Ellington: You could say the 33 year old is playing like he used to, but I’m not sure if he was that good 10 years ago. He’s a career three-point shooter at 37.9%, but he ties in at 48.4% this season.

In the last three games, Ellington has shot 61 percent off the three-point line, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. It’s like Steph Curry.

What makes Ellington’s marksmanship even more notable is that he was a starter in six of the nine games he has seen. That means he doesn’t top up his stats against scrubs.

He had 18 points in 6v10 shooting from outside the bow. Additionally, as a seen-it-all veteran, Ellington does more than just shoot.

Delon Wright: He fought offensively this season. Wright’s EFG (Effective Field Goal Percentage) is seven points below his career average.

Delon Wright got the scoring touch back on Friday night. He scored 18 points in 8v14 shooting. He was good at defense too, doing three steals.

Adjustments to the Casey line-up: We know there is some kind of code in the NBA about who’s in at the end of the game and who’s taking the last shot. A star player will be offended if his number is not called in crunch time.

Coach Dwane Casey had followed the code, tracking down his two big names Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose by the end of the game, basing his strategy on having the ball in hand for those important shots.

The strategy had been blown in his face multiple times this young season, most recently on Thursday when Detroit took a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.

In tough competition with Houston, Casey and Rose, who were 25 years old together, sat on the track. Griffin only got on in the last two minutes because Josh fouled Jackson and actually hit a big three-pointer.

It will be interesting to see if this is a new pattern or just a one-game situation as Casey tried to get a win.

Detroit Pistons: Evil

Saddiq Bey: We praise Bey when he’s doing well, but the rookie from Villanova wasn’t doing well on Friday.

Saddiq Bey was a great three-point shooter at the start of the season but he’s gotten into a major slump. This was the third game in a row that he didn’t make a three-pointer. In his last four games he is a combined 9-1 threesome.

Maybe the teams are planning games for him now because they know he can knock down triple. Bey’s fights, which regularly shoot two pointers, also hamper him. The defenders know they can play him close at the three-point line as he won’t hurt them when they go into the basket.

His struggles within the bow caused Bey not to even take two-point shots regularly. The last time Bey took a shot that wasn’t a three-pointer was January 13 against Milwaukee.

Bey is 6-8, an offensive rebound or a quick cut for a layup should happen at least occasionally

Referee: After the game, coach Dwane Casey said he thought Grant was fouled three times in the last game of the game. Looking at the repetitions, this appears to be correct.

It was strange that the umpires would whistle if Grant did what looked like the game-winning shot, and not before he started his shooting motion when he was pressed twice.

Grant had to push the defender away when he got the pass from Griffin in the last few seconds, which should have been a foul right there.

Yeah, yeah, we know the old sports adage that you should never let a game get to the officials – but that was pretty bad. We are sorry.

Detroit Pistons: The Ugly

Piston sales: When Vegas says the Detroit Pistons should win a game (Detroit was a 3.5 to 4 point favorite depending on the betting website) you should be pretty sure they’ll get a rare “W”.

It seemed like the only way Detroit could lose to a very understaffed Rockets team was to literally give them the win. Which is exactly what happened.

The Pistons had 13 sales at a time in the first half, compared to just four for the Rockets. By the middle of the second quarter, the Rockets were 43-23 ahead.

Houston finished with 25 points less than 15 for Detroit. Here the game was lost (and the lousy referees).

It’s amazing how many different ways the Pistons can find to lose games. The Rockets aren’t doing very well at full strength, and Detroit blown a game against them when they missed five players (including ex-Piston Christian Wood).

Next up are two home games in a row for Detroit with the leading Philadelphia 76ers of the Eastern Conference. We know they win one of these because Detroit always seems to be doing what they’re not supposed to do.