Jackson and Drummond lift Pistons over Rockets

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Reggie Jackson had 31 points and Andre Drummond added 24 points and 13 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons beat the Houston Rockets 116-105 on Monday night.

The game was decided by a first half where the Pistons built a 23-point lead over a team that went to the Western Conference finals six months ago. Houston shot 31. percent in the half, managing only four assists on 50 possessions, and allowed the Pistons to hit 55 percent from the floor.

The Rockets got back into the game by constantly intentionally fouling Drummond - he went 4-for-18 from the line - but were never within one possession.

Rookie Stanley Johnson had 19 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for Detroit, while James Harden scored 29 for the Rockets.

That was after Houston got a perfect start, as Drummond picked up a pair of avoidable fouls in the first three minutes, both while guarding Howard, and went to the bench. Aron Baynes, though, had eight points and three rebounds in the next 12 minutes as the Pistons pulled out to a 16-point lead.

Moments after Drummond returned, he blocked Howard's dunk, bringing a roar from the Palace crowd. Johnson followed with a high-arcing layup over Howard, making it 44-25.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Jackson gave the Pistons a 60-32 lead late in the second quarter, but the Rockets found enough effort to narrow the gap to 64-41 at the intermission. Jackson had 17 in the half, while Johnson had seven points, nine rebounds and was a plus-22.

Eight Rockets were a minus-10 or worse in the half, with Ty Lawson managing a minus-17 in only 10 minutes.

Houston got Drummond out of the game with a different tactic in the third quarter - the intentional foul. The Rockets sent him to the line seven times, including on five straight possessions, and he missed 10 of the 14 attempts. Detroit finally had to commit a foul in order to get him out of the game.

The strategy worked, as Houston brought Detroit's offense to a halt, and were able to pull within 84-73 by quarter's end. The Rockets then scored the first seven points of the fourth, making it 84-80 with 10:45 to play.

Detroit, though, responded with five quick points to take a nine-point lead. Houston went back to fouling Drummond in the last five minutes, but only missed three before Stan Van Gundy got Baynes into the game.

The Pistons maintained control, even after Jackson's rookie mistake of fouling Harden on a 3-pointer, giving him a four-point play. When Drummond returned with 1:54 left, the Pistons lead 108-100 and held on for the win.

TIP-INS:

Rockets: Harden has scored 105 points in Houston's last three games. . Houston had won two straight after losing seven of eight.

Pistons: Morris left the game in the second quarter after injuring his back in a collision with Drummond, but returned late in the period after being stretched out by the training staff. . According to STATS, Drummond's 10 missed free throws in the third quarter matched the second most since 2002-03, but not the most by a Piston - Ben Wallace went 5-for-20 in the fourth quarter of a 109-101 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 11, 2005. DeAndre Jordan also missed 10 in a quarter against San Antonio last season.

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