A hack too late: Pistons’ rally falls short in 103-102 setback to Rockets

Detroit News

Rod Beard
| The Detroit News

Detroit — In a season where they’ve squandered a number of double-digit leads, the Pistons turned the tables and erased a huge deficit themselves.

After trailing by 20 points in the first half, the Pistons found a way to climb all the way back, and they took the lead late in the third quarter and were in it down to the last seconds.

That’s when things went sideways.

BOX SCORE: Rockets 103, Pistons 102

In the final seconds of regulation, the Pistons trailed by one and Jerami Grant drove to the basket for a chance to win the game. Grant made the basket and was fouled, and after video review, the officials determined that the foul came after the final buzzer. 

No basket. No foul. No win. 

The Pistons dropped a 103-102 loss to the shorthanded Houston Rockets on Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.

On Grant’s drive to the rim, there appeared to be some contact as he began his drive to the basket, before the final foul call. At that point, there was still time on the clock, but nothing was called until the end.

And that was after time had expired.

“If you watch the film, I think he got fouled three times before he got to the rim,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Unfortunately, the call was after the time was gone.”

More: Observations: Pistons’ Wayne Ellington laying claim to shooting guard spot

Already this season, Casey has lamented Grant not getting foul calls on drives to the rim and that the team has sent some examples to NBA league office to illustrate their frustration.

Add another one to the list.

“I’m sure they saw (the contact); it was obvious,” Casey said. “Woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

It’s the fifth loss in the last six games for the Pistons (3-12), who next play a two-game mini-series against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday and Monday. 

More: Mailbag: Dwane Casey working on Pistons’ rebuild structure, and what to do with Jerami Grant

Grant finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, Wayne Ellington and Delon Wright 18 points each and Josh Jackson 12 points for the Pistons.

The Pistons were down by six points with 5:34 remaining after a 3-pointer by the Rockets’ Sterling Brown (14 points). Grant hit two free throws, Jackson converted a 3-pointer and Mason Plumlee made one of two free throws to cut the lead to 95-93.

The Rockets (5-9) built the lead to 100-95 on two free throws by P.J. Tucker (15 points) with 2:05 remaining. Grant followed with a 3-pointer and was fouled, but he missed the free throw. Plumlee missed two more free throws — the Pistons finished 25-of-37 from the free-throw line — that could have tied the game.

Eric Gordon, who had 20 points, made a lay-in and split a pair of free throws on the next possession for a 103-99 lead in the final minutes, but Blake Griffin (seven points and 10 rebounds) hit a 3-pointer with 29.9 seconds left.

The Pistons got their stop for the try on the final possession, but came up empty.  

The Rockets were without former Pistons big man Christian Wood, who sustained a sprained ankle this week, as well as John Wall.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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