Rockets 114, Pistons 97

Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Center Dwight Howard poured in a season-high 35 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as the shorthanded Houston Rockets bounced back from their worst loss of the season with a 114-97 thumping of the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night at The Palace.
Small forward Chandler Parsons scored 15 of his 20 points during the second half for Houston (18-10), which has won six straight over the Pistons (13-16). The Rockets were coming off a 33-point loss to Indiana on Friday.
Houston's leading scorer, shooting guard James Harden, was a late scratch because of a left ankle sprain. Harden, who had 37 points and 12 assists in his Rockets debut at Detroit last season, missed four games earlier this season with a foot injury.
Rockets starting point guard Patrick Beverley, who scored 10 points, fractured his right hand during the second quarter.
Guard Francisco Garcia, who started in place of Harden, chipped in 16 points.
The Rockets scored 10 unanswered points late in the first quarter to take the lead and never relinquished it.
Forward Josh Smith scored 19 points to lead the Pistons, who have lost five of their last six home games, and forward Kyle Singler added 12.
Point guard Brandon Jennings was ejected with 2:10 remaining for arguing with the officials.
Howard overwhelmed Pistons center Andre Drummond in the first half, racking up 23 points and 12 rebounds compared to Drummond's three points and four boards. Howard's dominance lifted the Rockets to a 61-53 halftime advantage.
Houston led by as much as 18 in the second quarter with the aid of four 3-pointers in the first 4:43 of the quarter.
Behind Parsons, the Rockets nearly doubled their lead during the third quarter. He scored 11 points, including a runner just before the buzzer to make it 86-71. The Pistons couldn't cut the deficit under double digits in the fourth.
NOTES: Pistons G Chauncey Billups was inactive. He has not been playing both ends of back-to-backs because of knee tendinitis. ... Houston G Jeremy Lin missed his fourth straight game with back spasms. Disgruntled Rockets C Omer Asik, who has a right thigh contusion, did not make the trip. ... The Rockets committed more turnovers than their opponent in 18 of their first 27 games, yet had a 13-5 record in those games. ... Rockets coach Kevin McHale said the team's 4-5 record in December was a byproduct of an unsettled rotation. "It just seems like we're two steps forward and one step back," he said. "We've just got to get everybody healthy and everyone playing well when we are healthy." ... The Pistons are below .500 at home and one game over .500 on the road. "I don't have an answer to it," coach Mo Cheeks said. ... Detroit is shooting a league worst 67.1 percent at the foul line, mainly due to C Andre Drummond's 37.6 percent foul shooting. Opponents are shooting a league-high 80.0 percent against them at the line. ... Drummond's 10 offensive rebounds against Charlotte on Friday were a career best.

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