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>>caption: JAMES HARDEN (#13) DRIVES
AROUND DET's GREG MONROE (#10)<<
@ PALACE OF AUBURN HILLS:
Opening Night on Halloween
started with children Trick-or-
Treating in the concourse of
the Palace. It ended with an old
Houston rocketed past the
Pistons 33-15 in the 4th-Qtr as
the visitors defeated Detroit
105-96 Wednesday night.
It marked the ninth Rockets
win over the Pistons in the last 11
Shooting guard James Harden, acquired in a pre-season trade
from Oklahoma City, had game-highs with 37-P & 12-A (a new career-
high) for Houston. The new-look Rockets also got 12-P & 8-A from free
agent signee Jeremy Lin.
Harden made the third biggest debut splash for a new team in NBA
history. Obtained just this past Saturday, Harden received a 5-year,
$80-million contract extension on Wednesday before the game. He
went from reigning NBA Sixth Man-of-the-Year to starter and focal
point of the Houston offense.
Harden started Houston's comeback from an 11-P, 83-72, early
4th-Qtr deficit by sinking a 3-pointer. Consecutive 3-balls from Carlos
Delfino drew Houston within 85-83 and a Chandler Parsons layup tied
Greg Smith dunked twice to put Houston ahead 91-87. A Detroit
dunk by Jonas Jarebko got the Pistons within two, then Delfino long-
bombed another pair of triples to give the Rockets a comfortable
Harden sealed the Rockets road win with a 3-point play for a 104-94
bulge with 1:27 remaining.
Brandon Knight topped Detroit with 15-P and passed around 4-A.
Greg Monroe had 14-P with a co-team-high 8-RB. Tayshaun Prince
posted 12-P while Jason Maxiell and rookie Kyle Singler each added
10-P. Maxiell matched Monroe's 8-RB. Rodney Stuckey scored 9-P
with a team-high 6-A, but was only 1-of-10 shooting from the field.
In all, six Rockets reached double digit scoring figures. Delfino
added 15-P, Omer Asik 12 (with a game-high 9-RB) , Parsons 11 and
Announced Opening Night attendance was 16,646.
PISTONS H-COACH LAWRENCE FRANK: "There's always mistakes that are
made, but they made us pay for mistakes by making shots...I just think we
lost our pace. Getting into things later than we wanted, the ball sticking -
we didn't change what we ran, but just our intent with it. Overdribbling,
passing and standing, not probing and getting into that paint, playing
around the paint. They were in our paint and we became very spread out."
PISTONS FWD TAYSHAUN PRINCE: "We would have thought [Harden] would
have had a tougher time trying to figure out their offense, but they stuck
to a couple of plays the entire game. Their whole thing was trying to keep
us spread out as much as possible. When we missed shots, they pushed the
ball up and got easy opportunities. We know what type of player James
Harden is. The more he has the ball in his hands, the [more] dangerous he is."
PISTONS GD RODNEY STUCKEY: "They keep it so simple as far as just
spreading it out and letting [Harden] create. Pick and rolls, that's pretty
much what got us. They did a good job of spreading us out. He was getting
in the lane, making shots and finding his teammates and they were making
ROCKETS GD JAMES HARDEN: "All the talking and all the craziness that has
been happening this last week [his trade and contract extension], I just
wanted to go out there and play basketball...I just tried to score and create
opportunities. Carlos Delfino came in hot. I just tried to get my bigs involved.
A lot of different guys stepped up, and I think that's how it's going to be
throughout this entire season."
ROCKETS H-COACH KEVIN McHALE: "I thought it was a challenge for James
to kind of figure out what we were doing. We put some plays in that he was
comfortable with that they ran at Oklahoma City."
Harden matched the third-highest point total for any NBA player in his
debut for a new team. The only players to score more than 37 points in
their first game for a specific NBA club were Kiki Vandeweghe, who tallied
47-P in his first game with the Trail Blazers (Oct. 27, 1984 at Kansas City),
and Wilt Chamberlain, who netted 43-P for the Philadelphia Warriors in his
NBA debut (at New York on Oct. 24, 1959). Two other players scored exactly
37-P in their debut for a team: Orlando Woolridge (for the Nuggets in 1990)
and Charles Barkley (for the Suns in 1992). Harden, however, was the first
NBA player to score so many points in his debut for a team while also posting
a double-digit assist total.
After his back-to-back dunks, Smith limped off to the Houston bench.
Houston forward Patrick Patterson sat out with a left quad strain.
New Piston Corey Maggette sat out the opener with a strained left
calf suffered two weeks ago in exhibition action. Maggette was obtained
in the off-season trade that sent Ben Gordon to Charlotte.
Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank reported his family is alright,
but has no power at his New Jersey home in the aftermath of Superstorm
Sandy. The Frank's residence suffered minor exterior damage. Frank's
two brothers live in Manhattan.
The Pistons open a six game road trip at Phoenix Friday night and will
play seven of their next eight away from the Palace.
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