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Pistons host James Harden, Rockets in season opener

Essentials

  • Teams: Houston Rockets (0-0) at Detroit Pistons (0-0)
  • Date: October 31, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Detroit

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons will open the season tonight against a Houston Rockets team that just brought in James Harden via trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder. This makes it a little difficult for head coach Lawrence Frank to prepare for Houston given that judging from the Rockets’ preseason play, they planned on featuring Kevin Martin in their offense; and he is now a member of the Thunder.

Harden’s game is vastly different from Martin’s and thus scouting the Rockets without actually seeing the new group play is essentially quite difficult; but not impossible.

During the preseason, the Rockets relied on ball movement around the perimeter to get the rock to Martin where he could do damage from 3-point range or by driving the ball to the basket. Mind you, Kevin McHale has other options this season with his new group of players.

Indeed, the Rockets now boast an intimidating presence at center in Omer Asik that may prove to be problematic for opponents this season. The former Bulls player is good at sealing his man on the interior and taking a hard dribble on the catch in the post and going to a soft right jump hook. He is also a good finisher on the catch, which makes him a dangerous pick-and-roll partner, but he also has the ability to catch the ball on the move and feed a teammate cutting to the basket — a skill he surely developed playing alongside Joakim Noah in Chicago — for an easy look at the rim.

It’s worth noting that Houston tends to forget about him for stretches, and thus might not be all that willing just yet to consistently go to him on offense. Also, Asik has probably never faced an NBA double-team, thus sending one at him may very well flummox him and result in turnovers.

Houston also loves to get out in transition when appropriate for easy buckets but the thing that seems to stand out offensively is their willingness to fire away from downtown. They are far from shy, and will shoot it from long-range without much fear. Should they catch fire, it could make things extremely difficult for their opponents.

As it pertains to Harden, he should thrive in the Rockets offense because of his ability to breakdown defenders off the bounce as well as his ability to successfully execute the pick-and-roll. Harden is a willing passer, which tends to keep defenses honest since they are unable to key in on his every move. This new dimension to the Rockets’ offense is a much needed one because Jeremy Lin has looked quite timid at times in the preseason; deferring far too much to teammates even when he’s been caught with the ball in his hands late in the shot clock.

One has to wonder if Lin is going out of his way to accommodate his teammates or whether his knee injury from last season is still holding him back.

On defense, the presence of Asik helps out the Rockets tremendously because of his ability to provide different coverages in the pick-and-roll.

Against quick penetrating guards, Asik usually stands back in the paint to make sure he does not get beat off the dribble and thus concedes the midrange jump shot; a spot where Brandon Knight will have to convert in order to force the big man to come out.

When Asik is involved in pick-and-roll scenarios involving perimeter players that Houston feels he can contain, he will either hedge or simply trap — especially on side pick-and-rolls — to get the ball out, which will get them in rotations. Thus, Stuckey and Prince should see a steady dose of this, and should be able to take advantage provided that Greg Monroe is aggressive offensively and that he continues to feed his timely passes to cutters as is customary for him.

In addition, Monroe might have some trouble posting up Asik since the Rockets’ starting center is quite strong and also good at contesting the shots of big men he is guarding.

With that said, if the Pistons can execute the offense and swing the ball side-to-side and then attack the defense off the bounce, it should lead to some good results as they will catch the Rockets rotating defensively and thus create high percentage shots at the rim.

Worth pointing out, the James Harden versus Tayshaun Prince matchup should be a fun one to watch. And one last note…

Enjoy the Pistons’ season home opener!

Read about the Rockets

Red94

25 Comments

  • Oct 31, 20127:53 pm
    by RosstheBoss

    Reply

    This game will be interesting to see the Piston’s back court of Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey take on Jeremy Lin and James Harden of the Rockets.  Houston’s backcourt is more talented but Detroit’s has more chemistry which may make all the difference. 
    If the Detroit Pistons are going to make noise this year these are the games that they have to win.  Houston is young and lacking continuity, and after the trade for James Harden, defined roles.  Much like the Dallas Mavericks did with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pistons need to be opportunistic and capitalize on this opportunity.
    — I’m secretly rooting for Andre Drummund to get personal mentoring from Ben Wallace and make a name for himself this year as a rookie; it doesn’t hurt that he’s on my Fantasy team either! lol

  • Oct 31, 20128:08 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Too many easy layup baskets for the Rockets, they should start Drummond and play a zone, defense is horrendous.

  • Oct 31, 20128:16 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    Lay up drills without Drummond in the game …. Its so simple

  • Oct 31, 20128:29 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Kyle Singler!

  • Oct 31, 20128:29 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    Question…. Why aren’t Drummond and Monroe in the line up together? I hate stubborn coaches…

    • Oct 31, 20128:46 pm
      by bvpiston

      Reply

      Well, let’s be honest, he hasn’t looked very good so far. Let me ask you this: who has been more productive so far, Dre or Max?

      • Oct 31, 20129:35 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Per minute, Dre. Per game, the guy who is getting PT.

        • Oct 31, 20129:37 pm
          by bvpiston

          Reply

          Nah, I was just talking about this game, up to the end of the first half.

          • Oct 31, 20129:53 pm
            by tarsier

            My answer still holds.

  • Oct 31, 20128:39 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    This turns my stomach…. Win of lose these line up are horrible

  • Oct 31, 20128:42 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Rockets seem to pick up all the undrafted rookies that can play… Scott Machado and Greg Smith. 

     

    • Oct 31, 20128:44 pm
      by Vince

      Reply

      HA. Battle of the Gregs down low.

  • Oct 31, 20128:44 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    More man to man defense

  • Oct 31, 20128:45 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    i still hate dukies…
    but, a nice pick up by dumars.  wonder how long its going to be before he takes tay’s spot. 

  • Oct 31, 20128:55 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    I like when Knight keeps it simple as a scoring first point guard

  • Oct 31, 20129:15 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    Our Starting LINEup SUCKS. Period. I wish Frankwould get some courage

    • Oct 31, 20129:33 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      How much courage does it take t play your lottery pick big man who could potentially be the 2nd best player on your team? WTF!!!!

  • Oct 31, 20129:15 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    Gonna be a long season….Coach Franks is not put a productive line up on the floor and the spacing is horrible …. I hate that trapping defense…it give open shots …

  • Oct 31, 20129:21 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    That’s how you run! …. When Greg touch the ball just clear out… Give him run to make moves

  • Oct 31, 20129:46 pm
    by Al

    Reply

    Liking the Knight & English backcourt!!

  • Oct 31, 20129:51 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    Harden looks as good as advertised. Drummond looks like he is getting totally stymied by the smallest man on the team, Frank.

  • Oct 31, 201210:10 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Thanks Frank, you just cost me $40. That was a terrible end to a good game.

  • Oct 31, 201210:21 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    Already ready for the draft…..

    We cry that we need size and a defensive presence…and we play him in the 2nd line up where the only offense come from a streaky shooting bynum …. We play stupid trapping defense that leaves solid to good 3 point shooters open…. We say we don’t have shooters, now we have them we don’t space the floor… The offense look jumbled and confusing …. No spacing and poor passing lane …

    we whined about wanted to move Greg to PF… But we keep him at center with the same defensive disadvantages as last year…. Harden is a good player but he had like 10 uncontested lay up … Jesus

  • Oct 31, 201210:32 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    Franks has forgot everyteam has gotten better…younger, bigger and faster while he wants to keep the same line up as last year…its nice that he played the rookies but had them in the game at the wrong time…and if Knight is gonna play PG …stop putting him at Off guard …its stupid to keep going back and forth….

    • Oct 31, 201211:38 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      There’s nothing wrong with him going back and forth. he should be able to play either guard spot. But if a lack of consistency does appear to make him struggle, he should be put consistently in one position. That would jut be disappointing because it would be a big knock against his potential.

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