Pistons reserves shine in win over Rockets
08 Apr 2017 - 10:11
Los Angeles: The Detroit Pistons turned to their reserves on Friday to keep their slim NBA playoff hopes alive with a 114-109 victory over the Houston Rockets.
Stanley Johnson drained a go-ahead three-pointer with 32 seconds remaining as the Pistons rallied for the upset in Houston.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said he left his back-up players in down the stretch as a reward for their enthusiasm.
The decision paid off for the Pistons, who are three games behind the Chicago Bulls and Indiana pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with three games remaining.
"It was great and we had a bunch of guys out there who really wanted to play," Van Gundy said. "They weren't bogged down by the way the season had gone. They had great enthusiasm.
"I don't care when it is in the year or what the situation is, that's a big part of this -- to just have a great enthusiasm to play, and those guys really did."
Johnson, a second-year forward, rookie forward Henry Ellenson, second-year center Boban Marjanovic and third-year forward Reggie Bullock all came off the bench to shine.
"I think we just played super hard," said Johnson, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth. "We're really, really hungry and seeing the position this team is in right now with Stan being willing to play some of us more, we're just trying to play hard and show everybody that we can play as well."
Marjanovic scored a career-high 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds while Ellenson scored 15 points with 11 rebounds.
James Harden led the Rockets with 33 points and 12 assists. His three-pointer with 2:26 remaining gave the Rockets a 105-101 lead, but he missed four three-pointers as the Pistons closed the game on a 13-4 scoring run.
"We've got to do a better job of closing games out," Harden said. "It's that simple."