AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Pistons fell to 6-10 at home this season, failing to take advantage of the depleted Houston Rockets.
The Rockets were already missing guards Jeremy Lin and James Harden to injuries. Greg Smith (knee) and Patrick Beverly (fractured right hand) left the game with first half injuries.
It didn't matter. Dwight Howard put on a clinic against Andre Drummond, scoring 35 points, 19 rebounds and five assists. The Pistons went on to lose to the Rockets, 114-97, on Saturday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Lin missed his fourth consecutive game with back spasms. Harden, who ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring (23.9 points per game), was a surprise scratch as he deals with an ankle injury suffered last Sunday. Harden warmed up before the start of the third quarter, but never entered the game.
Howard shot 9-for-13 from the field and had 21 points and 12 rebounds in the first half.
Beverly scored 10 points in the first half before leaving with the hand injury.
Chandler Parsons scored 11 of his 20 points in the third quarter for the Rockets, as the Pistons struggled to cut the deficit under double digits.
With Howard on the bench, the Pistons cut the deficit in the fourth quarter. Will Bynum missed a layup, but Drummond got an offensive rebound and putback to cut deficit to 92-82 with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter.
The Pistons never cut the deficit under 10 in the final quarter.
Detroit trailed by as much as 18 points in the first half before coming back to cut the deficit to eight. The Pistons trailed 61-53 at halftime, after Bynum hit a lay-up and free throw with 28.8 seconds left. Bynum finished with 11 points.
Josh Smith led the Pistons with 15 first-half points, including a jumper with 3:08 remaining in the first quarter that gave the Pistons a 22-21 lead. Smith finished with 19 points.
That would be the last lead of the game for the Pistons.
The Rockets outscored the Pistons 12-2 over the remainder of the first quarter to take a 33-24 lead. Rockets guard Patrick Beverly did most of the damage, scoring the final eight points for the Rockets.
After Drummond hit one of two free throws for the Pistons to cut the deficit to 35-27 in the second quarter, the Rockets hit three consecutive triples. Aaron Brooks hit the first and Francisco Garcia hit the next two, putting the Rockets ahead, 44-27.
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