In Pontiac, Mich., Isiah Thomas made two shots to finish a run of five straight baskets in the last four minutes as Detroit beat Houston.
Houston, which has the worst record in the league with only 10 victories, appeared on its way to No. 11 when it led, 94-85, with 7:55 to play. But Terry Tyler made two baskets in a 10-4 Detroit run that cut the lead to 98-95 in a span of 2:50.
The Rockets led, 103-99, with 4:14 left, but Detroit made its next five shots while holding Houston scoreless to take a 109-103 lead into the last two minutes. Kelly Tripucka, who had 22 points, protected the margin with four free throws. Tyler led all scorers with 25 points; Thomas and Bill Laimbeer had 12 each and Vinnie Johnson 10.
Rookie Ricky Pierce made a shot from the top of the key with 3:56 left to start the streak. Tyler made one from the base line, John Long added another and Thomas added two more as Detroit rallied in time to break a three-game losing streak.
Elvin Hayes scored 24 points, Allen Leavell 22 and Joe Bryant 20 for the Rockets.