Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard had a season-high 35 points and collected 19 rebounds as the Houston Rockets topped the Detroit Pistons 114-97 on Saturday.
Howard's monster performance was in large part due to the absence of Houston's leading scorer, James Harden, who sat out due to an ankle sprain.
"He played really well. He has been on a really good roll the last three weeks. Guys are getting a little more comfortable playing off of him. He was fantastic tonight," Houston coach Kevin McHale said.
Chandler Parsons tallied 20 points and Francisco Garcia added 16 for the Rockets, who bounced back from a 33-point loss to Indiana on Friday.
Josh Smith led four Pistons scorers in double figures with 19 points and Greg Monroe recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Singler scored 12 and Will Bynum added 11 points for Detroit, which has lost two straight.
"We are still trying to get better, night in and night out. As I said to our players, there will be some nights when we will have good nights; there will be some nights when we have bad nights," said Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks. "Last night and tonight was not our best for sure. It was just not our best. We have to regroup, take our time and get ready for Cleveland."
Houston broke out to an early 8-2 lead, but the Pistons responded by scoring 13 of the next 17 points. Later, Patrick Beverley scored the final eight Houston points of the first quarter to give the Rockets a 33-24 advantage.
The Rockets drained three consecutive 3-pointers early in the second stanza to grab a 17-point lead. The Pistons scored the final four points of the half to get within 61-53.
A Smith slam to start the third quarter got the Pistons within six, but that's as close as they would come. Parsons' running jumper to end the third put Houston up by 15.
The Pistons pulled within 10 early in the fourth on a Andre Drummond tip-in, but Detroit would get no closer as Howard knocked down a hook shot out of a timeout. On the next possession, Garcia's 3 had the edge to 13 points, and Houston rolled the rest of the way.
The Rockets have a six-game winning streak in the series ... It was Howard's 18th double-double of the season ... Rockets guard Jeremy Lin missed his fourth consecutive contest due to back spasms.
12/22 00:51:40 ET