Rockets look to recharge against reeling Pistons

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  • Detroit Pistons
    Detroit Pistons
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  • Houston Rockets
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The Houston Rockets succumbed at home to the New York Knicks on Thursday, in part because the latter shot the lights out from the perimeter in the first and final periods.

The NBA, however, did the Rockets no favors with the scheduling over the past week.

The Rockets completed their second back-to-back -- losing all four contests -- in seven days and their fifth game in that same span, fading down the stretch of their 116-103 setback to the Knicks. Unfortunately for Houston, the schedule will remain unforgiving through the weekend, with the Rockets set to visit the Detroit Pistons on Saturday afternoon.

"We ran out of gas and we ran out of juice," Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. "That happens on a back-to-back and five in seven (days) and we've got a tough one coming up in what seems like a few hours from now. A noon game in Detroit on Saturday when we were just in Cleveland (on Wednesday). Yeah."

Houston erased a 17-point deficit against the Knicks and briefly led in the third quarter. But with three of their top four scorers unavailable before starting guard Armoni Brooks departed with a sore ankle, the Rockets didn't have the firepower to overcome fatigue and attrition.

"It's so hard to do that because of where we are with our roster," Silas said. "Just trying to balance that, trying to not have guys out there for long stretches but keep the momentum going at the same time, it proved to be tough. Like I said, five in seven (days) with the travel makes it tough."

The Pistons' losing streak reached 13 games with a 122-113 setback to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. With Jerami Grant (thumb) expected to be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks, Detroit is in a search to replace its leading scorer.

Second-year forward Saddiq Bey provided that punch against the Pacers, amassing 28 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists in the defeat. It marked the first 20-point game for Bey since Nov. 15. He averaged just 7.7 points during the previous seven games.

"We've poured a lot of time into Saddiq and talked about how we could help him a little bit more," said Pistons assistant Rex Kalamian, who filled the head coaching void with Dwane Casey unavailable due to personal reasons.

"My message to him was just be aggressive and if you have an open shot, take it. And I liked what he did in the full court with the basketball in his hands, how he attacked a few times and got to the rim. That's how he needs to play.

"Once he saw the ball go through he played so much more freely. That's who Saddiq Bey is, and we're going to get a lot more games like that from him."

The Pistons will need more from Bey and others to overcome the losses of Grant and Kelly Olynyk (knee), as well as to snap their current skid that began Nov. 19. While only the Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic feature younger rosters, the Pistons are experienced enough to recognize the mistakes they are making and the measures needed in order to improve.

"It's the little details of our rotations and playing physical without fouling," Bey said. "We want to play hard, we want to play physical as an emphasis. Obviously, we have to do it without fouling. We'll be better."

--Field Level Media