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|01-31-2015, 11:20 PM||#1|
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Pistons turn back Smith, Rockets in 114-101 victory
D.J. Augustin had 28 points and 12 assists, and the Detroit Pistons held off former teammate Josh Smith and the Houston Rockets 114-101 on Saturday night.
Smith was booed throughout his return to the Palace, just more than a month after the Pistons waived the high-priced forward. He had seven points and seven rebounds, shooting only 3 of 11 from the field. James Harden scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half, returning from a bruised left knee to help the Rockets nearly rally from a 21-point, third-quarter deficit.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a season-high 28 for Detroit, which snapped a four-game skid and ended Houston's four-game winning streak.
The Pistons were coming off an embarrassing 20-point loss at Philadelphia, and they were sharp throughout against Houston's normally tough defense. Greg Monroe had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Andre Drummond had 11 and 16. Detroit won for the first time since losing point guard Brandon Jennings last weekend to a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The Pistons played well initially after cutting Smith, winning seven straight, and fans gave him an unfriendly welcome in his return, booing him when he went to the scorer's table to check in for the first time and also when he touched the ball.
Detroit led 59-46 at halftime and 86-69 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Harden led a 19-6 run to start the fourth, but Caldwell-Pope made enough big shots down the stretch to help the Pistons hold on. The second-year guard capped the victory with a shot from well behind the 3-point line with 3.1 seconds remaining and the shot clock expiring.
Houston was without star center Dwight Howard, who has been out because of swelling in his right knee. Harden left toward the end of the second quarter with his knee injury but came back and played almost the entire second half.
The Rockets lead the NBA in 3-pointers, but Detroit held its own from beyond the arc, going 10 of 25. Houston shot 11 of 32 on 3s.
Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas scored 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting. ... Harden had nine assists and seven rebounds.
Pistons: Augustin's 12 assists were his season high. ... Caldwell-Pope fell two points short of his career high in scoring. He made six 3-pointers.
The Rockets host Chicago on Wednesday night.
The Pistons host Miami on Tuesday night.