Pistons vs Rockets Game Preview - Feb. 22, 2011

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Detroit Pistons coach John Kuester is thrilled with the way his team played in its final game before the All-Star break.

Rick Adelman was irritated with how his Houston Rockets stumbled into the break and thinks they need to change their approach.

The Pistons look to get off to a strong start to the unofficial second half of the season Tuesday night when they host the Rockets.

Detroit (21-36) is 4 1/2 games back of Indiana for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and posted a 115-109 overtime victory over the Pacers on Wednesday.

The Pistons squandered a 10-point lead with less than 5 minutes to play in regulation, but instead of crumbling and losing for the ninth time in 12 games, they regrouped and outscored Indiana 11-5 in overtime.

Tayshaun Prince had 25 points and 11 rebounds while Tracy McGrady scored 15 for Detroit, which snapped a season-worst four-game home losing streak.

"Our energy was great and the players took ownership," Kuester said. "When they play with that type of effort I'm not saying we'll win the championship, but we'll be very tough to beat."

The Pistons have been particularly tough to be beat when Prince and McGrady play well. Detroit is 7-3 when Prince reaches the 20-point mark and 8-3 when McGrady scores at least 15.

Neither player reached those marks in the first meeting this season against the Rockets, a 97-83 loss Dec. 7. Prince had 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting and McGrady, who played for Houston from 2004-10, scored 11.

Luis Scola had 35 points in that game for the Rockets (26-31), who beat Detroit for the fourth time in five meetings.

Scola scored 26 and Kyle Lowry finished with a career-high 36 points Wednesday against Philadelphia, but Houston had another poor defensive effort in suffering a 114-105 loss, its third in four games.

"They've all got to take some pride at the other end," Adelman said. "This team (Philly) shot 55 percent and that's not good enough to win games in this league.

"You can't accept the fact that guys are scoring, you got to make it harder on them the next time. It's an attitude we have to have."

The Rockets, 5-15 when allowing teams to shoot at least 50 percent, are one of the worst defensive clubs in the league, allowing an average of 104.9 points. They are 6-23 when surrendering at least 105 but could have better luck against Detroit, which has one of the worst offenses at 94.9 points per game.

In addition to elevating its defensive intensity, Houston also needs leading scorer Kevin Martin to find his shooting touch.

Martin, averaging 23.0 points, scored nine on 3-of-12 shooting against the 76ers and is averaging 13.0 points on 23.5 percent shooting from 3-point range in his last three games. He averaged 28.6 points and made 45.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc in his previous five.

A game against the Pistons could help him get back on track. He scored 21 in the first meeting and has reached the 20-point mark in his last five games versus Detroit.