The Rockets lose again. This time, they fall at home to the Pistons, 123-114. Dwight Howard left during the first minute of the game after getting his ankle rolled up on. After Howard left, the Pistons capitalized scoring 33 points in the first quarter. The Rockets made a run after Hack-A-Drummond worked, but the Pistons re-took the lead and never looked back.
Below are three takeaways from the Rockets loss to the Pistons.
Defensive communication was off
Dwight Howard left after the first minute of the game and Terrence Jones came in to play with Clint Capela, and they were not on the same page. The rotations overall were slow, and guys got mixed up more than a few times leaving shooters wide open.
This vine is particularly troubling
Jones has his hands up looking like he is trying to figure out what he needs to do, Capela looks to be pointing out positions. The end result was Jones leaving Ersan Ilyasova wide open for a three.
Reggie Jackson was able to get through the lane with ease. When Jackson was able to get into the paint, if his shot wasn't there, he pulled the Rockets defense in enough that his passes led to wide open shots.
Hack-A-Drummond worked, then it didn't
The Rockets employed the Hack-A-Someone strategy and it worked! Down nine points coming out of the half the Rockets started the hacking, they ended up taking the lead. In the third quarter, Andre Drummond was 5-for-16 from the line.
After Stan Van Gundy pulled Drummond for Aron Baynes, the Pistons took the lead back. The Rockets kept it close, but the Pistons were too much to handle.
After the game, the Rockets players seemed unhappy or frustrated with the use of the strategy. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he was trying to win the game. The players themselves seemed rather frustrated.
"Can we not talk about that, hacking anything," Trevor Ariza said.
James Harden said it messes up the rhythm of the game. The Pistons were more than happy to let the Rockets continue to foul Drummond.
"It wasn't a chess match, it was just they wanted to foul, and we let them foul," Stan Van Gundy said.
Now is time to panic
Dwight Howard leaves the game and the whole world comes to an end. Well for the Rockets, it might as well be the end of the world. In January ,Howard has been one of the most productive players in the league, and his double-double streak ended because of his ankle.
Ty Lawson rolled up on Dwight after a Drummond foul, and he was supposed to come back into the game after getting his ankle re-taped. Instead, the Rockets ruled him out for the rest of the game. After, there was no real update on the health of Howard. There is no word if Howard will be healthy and ready to go Friday when the Bucks come to town.
The Rockets will be in a bad way if Howard has to miss a chunk of time. They have just started to figure out how to work Howard into the offense and the other Rockets bigs have not been hot stuff of late.