NBA Pick ATS December 21: Houston Rockets at Detroit Pistons

Kelley L Cox

Kelley L Cox – USATODAY Sports

Houston Rockets (-2.5) at Detroit Pistons

The Pick: Rockets 104-92

As down as I was on the Rockets yesterday, I am that high on them tonight in Detroit. I was down on them because of the matchup, not because I dislike the roster or the style of play. The Pistons, on the other hand, rely on scoring at the rim (league leading 51.5 points in the paint per game), and Dwight Howard is difficult to score around. Teams that beat Houston either have the size to neutralize D12 or the shooting ability to stretch the floor — neither of which Detroit possesses.

Houston, while they have the ability to score in the paint and get to the rim (third in points in the paint), prefers to score on the perimeter (league high 27 3PA per night). Detroit has big bodies, but they will have all sorts of issues chasing Chandler Parsons (in for a big night), Patrick Beverly, and company around outside screens.

Both teams are coming off of a losing effort last night, but that has proven to be a blessing thus far for the visitors. James Harden and Parsons both see their scoring average jump at least 13.8 percent on the second night of a back-to-back while the top six shooters (in terms of volume) on Houston are shooting at least 50 percent from inside the three-point line in such contests. Conversely, the Pistons have been brutally awful on the second night, highlighted by Josh Smith‘s 14.8 percent accuracy from distance and woeful 0.87 points per shot.

Detroit ranks as the 24th worst defense in terms of aFG%, a weakness the Rockets (who rank third in offensive aFG%) figure to exploit in a big way. The Pistons allow opponents to score 42.5 points per night either from the free throw line or from distance, two places the Rockets live (No. 1 in FTA and 3PA).

Fun Fact: Over the last week, Andre Drummond has made 24 field goals and only two free throws.

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