Pistons ground Rockets despite extreme Hack-a-Dre strategy
Detroit pulled away in the third quarter thanks to a 9-0 run led by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. AP

HOUSTON — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris each scored 22 points and the Detroit Pistons beat the Houston Rockets 123-114 on Wednesday night (Thursday, Manila time), despite Andre Drummond setting anNBA record by missing 23 free throws.

Drummond set a career high and franchise record by attempting 36 free throws on a night he was intentionally fouled 21 times. The previous record for most misses was 22, set by Wilt Chamberlain on Dec. 1, 1967.

The Hack-A-Shaq tactic allowed the Rockets to take the lead in the third quarter when they did it 12 straight times, but it didn't help them close the gap in the fourth when Drummond went out for good with 5 1/2 minutes left after seven hacks in the quarter and Detroit leading 107-94.

James Harden had his first triple-double of the season and seventh of his career with 33 points, a career-high 17 rebounds and 14 assists in the loss.

Drummond finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

The Rockets scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 1, but Detroit used a 14-2 run to push it to 99-86 with eight minutes left.

Houston again resorted to intentionally fouling Drummond soon after that, hacking him seven times in the next 2 1/2 minutes. He made four of 10 free throws in that stretch and Morris added four points to keep the Pistons ahead 107-94.

A 12-4 run by the Rockets, with 3-pointers from Terrence Jones and Jason Terry, got the Rockets to 115-106 with about two minutes left. But Marcus Morris scored five quick points to put the game out of reach.

Houston was playing without starting point guard Patrick Beverley, who was out with an ankle injury, and lost Dwight Howard one minute into the game with a sprained ankle.

Ty Lawson started in place of Beverley for his first start since Nov. 16. He started the first 11 games of the season before losing his job to Beverley and coming off the bench since then. He finished with a season-high 18 points.

The Rockets opened the second half by intentionally fouling Drummond. They started it by having little-used K.J. McDaniels foul five straight times in the first nine seconds of the third quarter to get the Pistons into the bonus. Several Rockets took turns patting Drummond, who entered the game shooting 35.4 percent from the line, to get fouls called after that.

After the 12th straight foul by the Rockets, Drummond went to the bench with about 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.


He made just 5 of 16 free throw attempts in that span and Houston scored 13 points, with two 3-pointers from Corey Brewer, to shave a nine-point halftime deficit to 61-60.

A hook shot by Clint Capela soon after that put the Rockets up 62-61 for their first lead of the night.

The Rockets led by 3 after a layup from Brewer midway through the third before Detroit scored nine straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from Caldwell-Pope, to take a 74-68 lead.

Jones made a layup for the Rockets right before the buzzer to get them to 85-79 entering the fourth quarter.

Houston never led in the first half and the Pistons were up 56-47 at halftime.


Pistons: Reggie Jackson added 17 points. ... Ersan Ilyasova had 18 points and six rebounds. ... The Pistons led by as many as 17.

Rockets: Beverley said his left ankle sprain is mild and that he hopes to return on Friday. ... Howard entered the game with 10 straight double-doubles. ... Jones added 18 points.


Pistons: Visit New Orleans Thursday.

Rockets: Host Milwaukee Friday.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph