Howard dominant, Rockets roll past Pistons 114-97


Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, left, defends against Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Dwight Howard had 35 points and 19 rebounds, leading the short-handed Houston Rockets to a 114-97 victory over the Detroit Pistons tonight.

In one of his best games since joining the Rockets in the offseason, Howard dominated Andre Drummond, Detroit’s promising 20-year-old big man, and helped Houston control the game despite the absence of star guard James Harden, who was out with a sprained right ankle.

The Rockets also were without Jeremy Lin, who has been bothered by back spasms, and they lost guard Patrick Beverley to a fractured right hand.

Josh Smith scored 19 points for the Pistons.

It was the most points Howard has scored as a member of the Rockets. He went 13 of 18 from the field.