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Harden, Asik help Rockets down Pistons
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - James Harden scored 20 points and Omer Asik added 14 points and eight rebounds, as the Houston Rockets crushed the winless Detroit Pistons, 96-82, at Toyota Center.
Marcus Morris and fellow reserve Toney Douglas chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Rockets, who snapped a three-game slide and won their first home game of the young season.
"We're going to start putting things together," Harden said. "I think defensively we've played really well and offensively we need to get a feel for each other."
Kelvin Sampson served as Houston's head coach after Kevin McHale took a leave of absence from the team to attend to a personal family matter.
The Pistons, who nearly went a full 12 minutes without making a field goal in the second half, fell to 0-7 for the first time since the 1980-81 campaign. Greg Monroe recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Brandon Knight netted a team-high 16 points in defeat.
Detroit was within four, 60-56, midway through the third quarter but only managed one free throw the final 5:28.
Harden converted a three-point play to start the quarter-ending 12-1 run, then hit a 3-pointer after Chandler Parsons also made one from behind the arc.
Detroit's first successful field goal of the fourth came on a Knight jumper with 6:03 to play, but by that time Houston's advantage ballooned to 82-57 and the Rockets cruised from there.
"There was no offensive energy out there at all. We didn't even give ourselves a chance during that run," Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank said.
The Rockets scored the final eight points of the opening quarter to build a 20-15 lead and were in front by as many as 16 in the second.
The highlight of the frame came when Terrance Jones set up a fastbreak by blocking a driving Rodney Stuckey. Harden and Jeremy Lin executed a perfect give-and-go in transition, with the former throwing down a monster two-handed slam for a 43-27 cushion with 4:06 remaining in the half.
The Pistons rallied with nine consecutive points to end the half, pulling within 47-41 on Monroe's buzzer-beating layup.
The Rockets have won five straight meetings ... Lin totaled seven points and eight assists ... Houston had 16 more points in the paint (44-28) ... The Pistons head home after their six-game road trip and face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday ... The Rockets host the Miami Heat on Monday.
11/11 00:09:33 ET
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