The after-Thanksgiving crowd at Little Caesars Arena received a holiday gift Friday night courtesy of the Detroit Pistons.
Reggie Jackson scored 19 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of the Pistons’ rousing 116-111 victory over the Houston Rockets.
Two nights after a two-point loss at Houston when Rockets star James Harden scored 43 points, Pistons rookie Bruce Brown helped to “limit” Harden to 33 points.
Brown played so well, Casey turned to him at crunch time.
Brown spent some time in the rotation early in the season, but his action lately has been with the Gatorade League affiliate in Grand Rapids.
“He was ready when his number was called,” Casey said. “We needed a defensive presence, more so than anything else, and he came in and did a great job.”
Brown scored seven points and delivered three steals.
His last steal came against Harden with 39.4 seconds left.
In an isolation against Harden, Brown was able to poke the ball loose. He picked it up and tried to go in for the breakaway dunk, but he was fouled by Harden.
Brown calmly sank both free throws to give the Pistons a 95-94 lead with 37.7 seconds left.
Harden was an inefficient 9-for-27 from the field and committed seven turnovers.
Griffin, who has went against Harden many times when he was with the Clippers, was impressed.
“I can’t say enough about what Bruce did,” Blake Griffin said. “He’s just that type of player. He has that capability, but he’s done as good a job as anybody I’ve seen.”
Andre Drummond had his sixth 20-20 game of the season with 23 points and 20 rebounds. He added five blocks and three steals.
Griffin scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Pistons (9-7).
Center Clint Capela scored 29 points and grabbed 21 rebounds for the Rockets (9-8), who saw their five-game winning streak snapped.
He added six assists and committed only one turnover in 33 minutes.
The Pistons looked like winner when Griffin’s 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in regulation gave them a 98-96 lead.
The Pistons scored only six points during a 12-minute stretch of the second half.
A Jackson scoring outburst was needed.
He reentered the game at the 7:42 mark and immediately got to the basket for a lay-up to cut the deficit to 85-81.
He made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to cut the deficit to 87-84 with 6:48 remaining.
And he scored 10 of the Pistons’ 18 points in overtime to help seal the victory.
The LCA crowd rocked during the tense moments, easily the most electric crowd of the season.
“We need that, Casey said. “All these hot gyms in Toronto and Houston, these are packed gyms. I know these fans here are just waiting to have a rocking arena, but we got to give them something to get excited about.
“They’re not going to come pay their hard-earned money to hang out and watch us not give 110 percent. We’re getting to our fans are going to respect us, respect what we put on the floor, but we got to go out and earn it. They’re not going to do it because we say come watch us play. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t either.”
But Eric Gordon’s lay-up with a tenth of a second left sent the game into overtime.
Harden is tough to defend and that was the case from the outset.
He scored 15 points in the first quarter as he took multiple defenders off the dribble.
He knocked down two 3-pointers and got to the line four times.
But rookie Bruce Brown slowed Harden in the second quarter.
And a Brown steal and breakaway dunk gave the Pistons a 49-47 lead at the 6:27 mark.
Drummond was dominant.
He finished the first half with 16 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots as the Pistons led by as many as 10 points.
But Capela got loose behind the Pistons’ defense routinely to score 21 points and grab 12 rebounds in the first half.
The Pistons took a 61-56 lead at halftime.
Follow Vince Ellis on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.