Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders thinks his team compares favorably to some of the best in NBA history.
The Pistons will try for their seventh straight victory when they host the Houston Rockets.
Detroit routed the New York Knicks 105-79 on Thursday and, including a win at Atlanta a day earlier, has won back-to-back road games by a combined 54 points.
“Kind of how we’ve been for 37 games,” Saunders said. “Different guys lead us over different parts of the game, play unselfish. Thirty assists, eight turnovers, that’s kind of where we’ve been when we win games.
“I think how we played tonight against New York is pretty much how this team has played through the first half of this season.”
Detroit has won each of the games during its winning streak by at least 10 points.
Saunders is so impressed with the team that he compared it to the New York Knicks from 1970-73, who won two titles in four years with a roster that included Hall of Famers Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere.
“They had every guy that had their own specialty,” Saunders said. “Bradley shooting the ball, DeBusschere doing the dirty work. You had Reed that pretty much controlled the middle.
“We’re pretty much the same way. All of our guys have what they kind of do. They have their own thing they kind of specialize in, and because of that they have the ability to carry the team in certain parts of the game.”
The Rockets ended their seven-game losing streak on Friday, beating Chicago 109-108 in double overtime. Tracy McGrady, who missed five games with back spasms, returned and scored 35 points, including the tying shot at the end of regulation and the go-ahead 3-pointer in the second overtime.
“I just felt real comfortable, despite being out for awhile,” said McGrady, who had seven points in each overtime period. “When I caught my second wind toward the end of the game, I was fine. I just felt like any defender that was guarding me was pretty much at my mercy.”
Juwan Howard added a season-high 30 points on 15 of 29 shooting for the Rockets, who are 0-13 without McGrady.
“He still does some things that amaze me,” Howard said of his teammate.
Houston—0-13 this season when McGrady is out of the lineup—has lost its last four meetings with Detroit.