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Green leads Rockets against Pistons

The Houston Rockets will not have superstar James Harden for a few more games but they've found another offensive threat.

Swingman Gerald Green has been so productive in a five-game audition, the Rockets decided to guarantee his contract for the rest of the season.

In the first two games since Harden was sidelined by a hamstring strain, Green has averaged 28 points off the bench. He scored 29 in a 124-114 loss to Golden State on Thursday.

Detroit will have to figure out a way to slow down Green when the Rockets visit the Pistons on Saturday.

"I'm afraid to talk to him because I'll mess it up," Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said of Green's swift impact. "I mean, that's pretty good. And he's trying on defense. He's not the greatest defensive guy in the world but as long as you have energy and you're playing (hard) ... thank goodness we got him. He's been really good."

Green has been especially dangerous beyond the arc. He's shooting 56.8 percent from there since he was signed on Dec. 28.

"It's the way the system is run," he said. "It's really easy to find your niche."

The Rockets defense wasn't nearly good enough to slow down the Warriors, even though Kevin Durant missed the game because of a calf strain. Golden State shot 55.2 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from long range.

"We've just got to get better as a team," D'Antoni said. "We're just not quite there defensively and with our communication. All the stuff that we can control, we're just not doing. We can talk about it but we've got to put it on the floor."

The teams split their two-game series last season, with each winning on the road. They'll meet again in Houston on March 22.

The Pistons have a quick turnaround after getting embarrassed in Philadelphia on Friday. They trailed by 30 at halftime in a 114-78 rout.

"We got totally dominated the entire night; it was very tough," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We didn't have a good two-minute stretch in the entire game."

Detroit also lost its previous game at Miami but this one was never in doubt after the first quarter.

"It's a tough pill to swallow," point guard Ish Smith said. "We have to get back after it tomorrow night, you don't forget about these, you soak it in and figure out what you have to do to get better.

Center Andre Drummond returned after missing one game due to a rib contusion. He had 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes.

"I played as hard as I could, it just wasn't our night," he said. "As a unit, we just have a lot to learn from this one and we have to get ready for tomorrow."

Updated January 6, 2018

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