DETROIT — On an emotional day for the Houston Rockets, its longest-serving veteran, Eric Gordon, made sure that his team earned a victory on Saturday night for their absent head coach.
Normally a lethal three-point shooter, Gordon manufactured almost all of his 24 points on drives to the basket, leading five Rockets in double figures during a 117-114 victory over the Detroit Pistons inside Little Caesars Arena. Two layups from K.J. Martin in a three-second span during the final minute of the game — the second coming on an offensive rebound after he missed a free-throw — sealed the win for the Rockets, who were playing the game without head coach Stephen Silas, away from the team to attend the memorial service of his father, Paul Silas.
Gordon scored 11 of his points and dished out four of his seven assists in the final frame, and his four free throws in the final 18 seconds of the game helped seal the victory. Jaden Ivey had one last chance for the Pistons to tie the score after two of Gordon’s free throws gave Houston a three-point lead, but his tying three-point attempt from straightaway rimmed out just before the final buzzer.
Martin scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Tari Eason scored 16 as two Rockets reserves, Jae’Sean Tate (13 points) and Josh Christopher (11), scored in double figures.
Detroit missed out on the opportunity to win back-to-back games for just the second time this season as it has now lost five out of six. Alec Burks led the Pistons with 21 points while Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points. Hamidou Diallo chipped in with 15 points and five steals in 19 minutes off the bench.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Detroit-area photographer Aaron J. Thornton. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 31 pictures in total.