Rockets 97, Pistons 80

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 17, 2012
Samuel Dalembert had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Luis Scola also scored 14 and the Houston Rockets beat the Detroit Pistons 97-80 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory. Kyle Lowry had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Rockets, who outrebounded the Pistons 42-35 to offset 21 turnovers. Houston shot 49 percent (40 of 81) from the field and scored 21 points off 17 offensive rebounds. Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points, Ben Gordon had 18 and Rodney Stuckey added 16 off the bench for the Pistons, who've dropped eight of nine. The Pistons missed six of their first seven shots as the Rockets built an early lead. Detroit coach Lawrence Frank was hoping to strengthen his team's interior defense by starting Ben Wallace, but Dalembert had three dunks in the first 9 minutes. Chandler Parsons swooped in for another slam, and Lowry cut inside for a layup as the Rockets used a 13-2 spurt to take a 24-10 lead. Houston helped Detroit with six turnovers in the quarter, and the Pistons cut the deficit to eight by the start of the second. The Rockets got sloppy again just before halftime, and the Pistons closed the gap to 42-38. Lowry made a 3 in the final 30 seconds of the half, and Houston led 47-40 at the break. Lowry hit three 3s in the game, and Houston finished 8 for 19 from beyond the arc. Detroit missed 12 of its first 16 shots in the third quarter, and the Rockets stretched the margin to 62-49. Houston has held double-digit leads in seven consecutive games, its longest streak since the 2008-09 season. The Rockets controlled the boards early in the fourth quarter to preserve a comfortable lead. Backup point guard Goran Dragic turned two steals into breakaway layups to extend the gap to 80-66 with just under 7 minutes left. Dragic found a cutting Parsons for a two-handed dunk with 2:45 remaining to make it 89-72. Dragic sank a 3-pointer a minute later to give Houston its biggest lead of the game, 92-74. The Rockets improved to 5-1 at home, and 4-1 against Eastern Conference teams this season. The Pistons are 0-9 this season when they get outrebounded. NOTES: Houston has won 17 consecutive games when holding its opponent below 90 points. ... Dalembert recorded his second double-double of the season. ... Rockets G Courtney Lee returned after sitting out eight games with a right calf strain. F Jordan Hill left with flu-like symptoms and did not return. ... Wallace made his first start of the season at power forward, replacing Jonas Jerebko. Frank says he'll try the switch for ''a period of games.'' ... Pistons G Will Bynum sat out for the second straight game with a strained right foot. ... The Pistons are 0-10 when trailing after the first quarter, and 0-11 when trailing after three quarters this season.
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