HOUSTON (AP) – Terrence Jones had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets opened a big early lead and beat the Detroit Pistons 118-110 on Saturday night for their third win in four games.
Jones finished 10 of 15 from the floor as Houston shot 50 percent for the game, including 61 percent in the first half. Houston scored 41 points in the first quarter and finished 11 of 33 from behind the arc.
James Harden added 20 points and 12 assists, Patrick Beverley had 19 points and Dwight Howard chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds. Reserve Omri Casspi scored 16 points and Jordan Hamilton had 13.
Rodney Stuckey had 23 points on 10 of 17 shooting off the bench, and Josh Smith added 21 points for the Pistons, who dropped their fourth straight and seventh in eight games.
Andre Drummond had 16 points and 17 rebounds, Greg Monroe had 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Brandon Jennings chipped in 11 points and eight assists for Detroit, which shot 45 percent from the field.
Trailing 102-84 with 10:33 remaining, Detroit outscored the Rockets 13-5 over the next 4:22 to cut the lead to 10 on Smith’s free throws, but Beverley nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to 16 with four minutes remaining.
The Pistons closed within seven once more with a 10-1 run, capped by consecutive layups by Stuckey, but got no closer.
Houston used a 16-2 run over a three-minute stretch of the first quarter to open a 23-6 lead on Howard’s two free throws 5 minutes into the game. Beverley had five points to lead the Rockets’ spurt that included two dunks by Jones and Howard’s alley-oop slam.
Houston expanded its lead to 58-33 on Howard’s free throw with 4:58 remaining in the first half. Detroit cut the lead to 19 with a 9-3 run with 3 minutes left in the half, but the Rockets pushed their lead back to 69-46 at the break.
NOTES: Houston forward Chandler Parsons missed the game with an illness. . Rockets center Greg Smith underwent an exploratory arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday to repair a medial meniscus tear and to examine changes to ligament structures in his right knee. Smith, who has missed 36 games this season, is out indefinitely. . Drummond leads the Eastern Conference with 43 double-doubles this season.
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