Jackson has missed the last five games and even before that, he wasn't playing well after returning from a plasma injection to treat tendinitis in his left knee. "They weren't bogged down by the way the season has gone".
After a relatively quiet first half (2 of 7, 9 points) Harden went off for 16 points in the third quarter when he hit 4 of 6 3-pointers with four rebounds and four assists. "I don't care when it is in the year or what the situation is that's a big part of this is just having a great enthusiasm to play and those guys just did".
"We've got a lot of young guys", Johnson said.
It was Marjanovic, after spending most of the season toiling on the bench behind ex-All-Star Andre Drummond and backup Aron Baynes, who helped bring a sagging Detroit team back in the second quarter.
Johnson's trey off an Ish Smith assist pushed the Pistons ahead 110-107 then made two free throws off a James Harden foul for a five-point lead.
The Pistons' first rally from a 12-point deficit came courtesy of Marjanovic, whose 17 first-half points eclipsed his previous single-game season high of 15. "We played together. We played to want to win". D'Antoni plans to rest G Eric Gordon in one of the upcoming back-to-back road games against the Kings and Clippers on Sunday and Monday.
A 3-pointer by Johnson tied it with about three minutes left before Harden made a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around a layup by rookie Henry Ellenson to give Houston a 105-101 lead.
Ellenson had played a total of 57 minutes over 15 games for Detroit, averaging around 1.5 points and 0.5 rebounds per game.
Stan Van Gundy chose to give playing time to Henry Ellenson and Boban Marjanovic over the season's last four games because, he said, "we hope (they) can be real contributors next year".
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