Detroit Pistons-Houston Rockets: The Suprising Fortunes of Two Unlucky NBA Teams

Omari Sankofa IIContributor IDecember 14, 2009

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 26:  (L-R) Tayshaun Prince #22 and Richard Hamilton #32 of the Detroit Pistons sit on the bench in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 26, 2009 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  The Cavaliers won 99-78.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Over the past two weeks, the Pistons have improbably looked like the real deal.

The ferociousness of Rodney Stuckey and the solidity of Charlie Villanueva and Jonas Jerebko have led the Pistons to a surprising five-game winning streak.

They are now one game under the slightly coveted .500 mark.

In a warped perversion of math: Pistons - three players = five-game winning streak.

Yeah, it makes no sense. But it is happening.

Now that the Pistons have shown that they mean business, can they show that they are ready for the big time?

They get a taste on Tuesday when they face Trevor Ariza and the Houston Rockets.

This game holds a lot of significance because not only are the Pistons on the road, but also they are facing a team that swept them last year.

More than that, this team knows exactly what the Pistons are going through.

The Rockets were supposed to be a bottom-feeder this year after Yao Ming joined the stay-at-home club with Tracy McGrady.

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The Rockets were supposed to suffer from a weak front court.

They were questioned when they traded defensive-specialist Ron Artest for fourth or fifth offensive option for the Lakers, Ariza.

Like the Pistons, the Rockets are overachieving.

The Pistons were supposed to be bottom-feeders after Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Ben Gordon got injured.

The Pistons were supposed to suffer from a weak front court.

They were questioned when they traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson.

Like the Rockets, the Pistons are overachieving.

Even more ironic is how both teams have had a promising, but unproven, young player lead them through the mess.

For the Rockets, it is Ariza, who has upped his scoring averages from 8.9 to 17 a game.

The Pistons' equivalent is Stuckey, who has boosted his scoring average to nearly 20 per game to make up for the absence of Gordon and Prince.

On top of that, the Pistons have hacked and slashed their way to a solid seventh seed in a tight Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Rockets have fought their way through a crowded Western race and are sitting on a solid, yep, seventh seed.

These teams are a time zone apart, but they have a "Parent Trap"-like story to tell.

So as Detroit and Houston duke it out Tuesday, remember that no two teams in the league have as similar a tale to tell as these two.

See y'all later.