First and foremost, thanks to Patrick for covering for me yesterday. Writing 82 previews is difficult, and it would be impossible without other folks picking up the slack. Not to mention, they're all pretty darn good writers that almost always put me to shame. Once again, thanks Patrick.
The Rockets return to their birthplace tonight. The last time they were here was the first time that James Harden donned Rockets red. It was the opening game of the 2012-13 season and spirits were high but the pessimistic fan base was ready for the worst.
And then Harden did this:
While the Palace at Auburn Hills was a house of horrors for the Rockets during much of the last decade, this new version walked in and never seemed intimidated by the moment or the crowd.
The Rockets are 5-1 on the second of back-to-backs, which is a good thing since that's the case here. The Pistons also played last night, losing to the upstart Bobcats at home. Both teams will be gunning for this win.
The Pistons will trot out their ultra-big lineup with Josh Smith at the small forward, Greg Monroe at the 4, and Andre Drummond at center. Brandon Jennings will play the point and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will hope that someone, anyone, passes him the ball so he can do what he does best: shoot.
As for the Rockets, that Pacers loss will haunt them for a long time, but they have to get it together soon. I think they drop this one though.
Prediction: Pistons win 110-99.