[7:40 PM] Rockets @ Pistons

Who will WIN this matchup?

Houston Rockets (8-5)

@ Detroit Pistons (6-8)


The line for this game is Rockets by 2.

James Harden’s phenomenal early run hits the road Monday night when he leads his Houston Rockets into a matchup with the struggling Detroit Pistons. Harden averaged a triple-double in two meetings with the Pistons last season – both losses – and is practically flirting with one every night in an MVP-caliber first month of 2016-17.

One of Harden’s highlights in Saturday’s win was a half-court alley-oop to center Clint Capela, and while the pass was a thing of beauty the man on the receiving end has also been getting more attention for his play. Capela had season highs in points (20) and assists (five) against Utah and he is averaging 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds over his last eight games while shooting 62.3 percent. He and Harden were the only starters to score in double figures Saturday while Eric Gordon came off the bench to provide 20 points, a season-high seven rebounds and a season high-tying six assists.

Coach Stan Van Gundy has hinted at lineup changes to try to create a spark but a busy game schedule (Detroit entered Sunday with an Eastern Conference-leading 14 games played) has limited practice and made it difficult to install anything. Four starters scored in double figures in the loss – led by Marcus Morris (24 points) and Andre Drummond (20) – but the bench chipped in only 13 points on 5-of-21 shooting.

Drummond led the Pistons to the season series sweep in 2015-16 by averaging 20.5 points (63.2 percent shooting) and 12 rebounds.

Harden is averaging 13.6 assists and shooting 49.3 percent on the road, compared to 10.6 and 43.1 percent at home.

Detroit is aiming for its first three-game winning streak versus Houston since Jan. 7, 2004-Nov. 18, 2006.


StreakSmarts Pick: Detroit Pistons

Confidence: 5/10

StreakSmarter Pick