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Rockets Succumb to Pistons, 114-101

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All five of the Detroit starters scored in double figures. Damn it, Joey Dorsey.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Not only did Detroit snap their four-game streak, but they also snapped Houston's—the only difference is Detroit was losing while Houston was winning.

For the Pistons, this was their first win since Brandon Jennings went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon last week, and they certainly looked fine without him.

As Armin Khansari pointed out in his preview, Detroit had three advantages over the Rockets tonight: They hadn't played since Wednesday, the fans had extra motivation because it was Josh Smith's "homecoming", and the team had extra motivation after getting spanked by the Philadelphia 76ers 89-69 in their last game.

This was Josh Smith's first return to Detroit since being waived by the franchise that signed him in 2013. When he was subbed in for Donatas Motiejunas early in the first quarter, his entry onto the court was met immediately with harsh boos from the crowd, who subsequently booed him every time he touched the ball.

Clearly, whatever they were trying to do worked since he only scored seven points on 3-of-11 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

This was supposed to be his revenge game, too.

Recently, Smith has been huge for Houston, especially while Dwight Howard has been sidelined with swelling in his right knee, and he has noticeably improved since he arrived on Christmas Eve.

Through 21 games as a Rocket, Smith has averaged 10.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 24 minutes per game. (His 2.2 assists per game would be impressive if he didn't also average 2.5 turnovers.)

But J-Smoove simply didn't have the shooting touch tonight, and he certainly had plenty of touches.

(Note: I was watching the game on NBA League Pass with the Detroit broadcasters, and they were genuinely upset that the fans kept booing Smith whenever he touched the ball. They explicitly said that Josh Smith was not all to blame for the problems Detroit was having and is an all-around good guy to be around.)

MVP candidate James Harden went down with 4:48 minutes left in the second quarter after falling awkwardly on a drive against Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He remained on the floor for an extended period of time but was eventually able to walk himself back to the locker room.

Detroit led 59-46 by halftime, and their offense was rolling.

The Beard returned to action in the third quarter and took on the role of scorer, versus when he was more of a distributer in the first half (he finished the game with nine assists). The Rockets were down as much as 21 points, and Harden came back to score 21 of his 26 points in the third quarter.

SBNation.com reported that Harden suffered a bruised left knee, but he played almost all of the second half anyway and finished the game with 36 minutes logged.

Harden also led a 19-6 run to start the fourth quarter, but to no avail. The Pistons were able to sustain their lead thanks to a huge night from their starting backcourt in Caldwell-Pope and D.J. Augustin, who both scored 28 points each (two points short of Caldwell-Pope's career high) and combined for 16 assists.

Caldwell-Pope also grabbed five rebounds and three blocks in 40 minutes of play. His shot was falling consistently throughout the entire game, as he was 5-for-11 from the field by halftime and finished the game 10-for-21 and 6-of-11 from the three-point line.

Detroit's starting big men also finished with double-doubles: Greg Monroe went for 19 points and 12 rebounds while Andre Drummond had 11 and 16.

The Rockets have some time to regroup since they don't play until Wednesday night, but they better have a better interior defensive plan because even though Monroe and Drummond are nothing to sneeze at, the rotation of Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic is a completely different animal.

The Rockets host the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night 7:00 p.m. Central Time