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Game recap...12/15

By: Channing Cummins

On Tuesday night the Pistons put their five game winning streak on the line against the Houston Rockets. The streak would end in Houston as the Pistons fell to the Rockets 107-96. Poor shooting along with mediocre defense lead to a disappointing loss.

The story of the night was the return of Tracy McGrady, who was considered doubtful coming into the game. McGrady made his first appearance since Feb. 9, 2009 after suffering a microfracture on his left knee. He didn't have too much of an impact however, only playing a mere eight minutes and providing 3 points. The Rockets were also missing their second leading scorer, Trevor Ariza, who is serving his one game suspension. Ariza's suspension was handed down after elbowing Toronto's DeMar DeRozan.

The Rockets didn't seem to care as they held the mometum for most of the game. Aaron Brooks provided a strong performance with 23 points and 10 assists. Brooks provided a much needed boost for the entire game. Luis Scola also provided 23 points along with his 8 rebounds. Rookie Chase Budinger, Ariza's replacement, also had a key role in the Rockets win with his 16 points and 12 rebounds. This was Budinger's first career start and proved to be a memorable one.

The Pistons were lead by Richard Hamilton's 21 points, 17 of which came in the first half. Early on Rip seemed to be on pace for a huge night. He was shooting from virtually everywhere and the ball was dropping. The second half proved to be a different story for Rip, only managing to score 4 additional points. Poor 3 point shooting also lent a hand in the Pistons loss, with the team shooting 4-21 beyond the arc. A bright spot for the Pistons was their offensive rebounding, who are currently rank second in the league. Ben Wallace provided 5 of the teams 17 offensive boards. Wallace is currently 4th in the league when it comes to offensive rebounds, averaging 4.2 per game. Last week's Eastern Conference player of the week, Rodney Stuckey, managed to provide 17 points along with 5 assists.

When it came down to it, it was the Piston's lack of defense that lead to the loss. The Rockets were able to shoot over 54% from the field and the entire team seemed able to score. A majority of their baskets were from the paint and seemed to come with relative ease. The guards got to the basket without much contest and the bigs seemed to own the rim.

With the injuries to Bynum, Gordon and Prince the Pistons need to strive on defense if they plan to win many games. Currently sitting at 11-13 the team can not afford to lose many more games without providing wins in between. In order to do this they will need strong performances from their stars and more effort as a team on D. The Pistons look to bounce back Wednesday as they take on the New Orleans Hornets who currently sit 10th in the West with a 10-13 record.


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