NBA regular season

Pistons top Rockets in Green-Cunningham rookie showdown

Pistons top Rockets in Green-Cunningham rookie showdown

ROOKIE RIVALRY. Rockets star Jalen Green gets fouled by Pistons guard Cade Cunningham.

Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Houston’s Jalen Green and Detroit’s Cade Cunningham, the top two picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, put on a show

Jerami Grant scored 35 points and stole the spotlight from a pair of touted rookies, leading the Detroit Pistons to a 112-104 victory over the host Houston Rockets on Wednesday, November 10 (Thursday, November 11, Manila time).

Grant put up 21 points in the third quarter, his career high for any single period, to steer the ship for the Pistons and divert attention from the featured matchup of Detroit guard Cade Cunningham and Rockets guard Jalen Green, the top two picks in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Cunningham had 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists while Green tallied 23 points on 8-for-20 shooting plus 5 rebounds.

The Rockets dropped their ninth consecutive game by missing 12 of 34 free throws and surrendering 20 points to the Pistons via 16 turnovers. Detroit ended a four-game skid.

Christian Wood paired 20 points with 9 boards for Houston. Kevin Porter Jr. had 18 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists while committing 5 turnovers and missing 6 free throws.

Grant hit a three-pointer with 5:50 left in the third quarter to give the Pistons a 68-66 lead. He then took over with a three-point play, a technical free throw, an elbow jumper and a block that fueled a Pistons fastbreak.

The Rockets later went more than three minutes without a field goal to open the fourth period but clawed back to within 100-96 with a 10-0 run. Cunningham snapped the sequence with a trey, giving Detroit a seven-point edge with 4:37 to go.

After Grant drilled a pair of three-pointers to pace the Pistons to an 11-2 lead out of the gate, Houston replied with a 14-2 surge that came after Cunningham went to the bench with two fouls.

However, a Grant layup and a Kelly Olynyk trey helped Detroit reclaim the lead, and the Pistons were in front for the first part of the second quarter.

Houston moved back on top when Wood hit a pair of free throws following a flagrant foul before adding a three-pointer for a 37-33 edge. When Green nailed a three-pointer, Houston extended to its largest lead of the half at 42-35.

Detroit closed the second with a key stretch in the last seven seconds. Grant dunked, the Rockets turned the ball over, and Saddiq Bey (16 points) hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer that cut the deficit to 50-49 at the half. –