Thursday, October 10th, 2013 at 7:30 AM EDT at Mall of Asia Arena (Manila, Philippines)
Game Rewind: Pacers 96, Rockets 116
Scott Agness | October 10, 2013
After spending days adjusting to a 12-hour time difference, sightseeing, and interacting with basketball fans in a new country at various clinics and events, the Indiana Pacers finally hit the hardwood for their second preseason game on Thursday. They got off to a poor start and had a hard time slowing down the Houston Rockets. Led by 21 points from James Harden, the Rockets defeated the Pacers 116-96 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Participating in the NBA Global Games, the meeting between Indiana and Houston marked the first time two NBA teams had played in the Philippines – and they did so in front of a vociferous and appreciative sold-out crowd (listed attendance: 12,885).
As the Pacers missed their first four shots and turned it over three times, the Rockets got off to a torrid start and went ahead 12-0, which forced Pacers coach Frank Vogel to take a timeout. Indiana’s defense didn’t come to play all game long. The Rockets had little resistance in their efforts to get to the hoop, leading to countless layups. Down as many as 15, the Pacers used a 10-2 run to get to within seven at the end of the first quarter.
Vogel experimented with various lineups for parts of the game. He opened the second quarter with C.J. Watson, Solomon Hill, Danny Granger, Luis Scola and Chris Copeland. That bunch kept it tight, shrinking the lead to two on a layup from Scola. Big men Roy Hibbert and Dwight Howard were in foul trouble and so neither made an appearance in the second period. Play was held up for about 10 minutes as the power went out on the scorer’s table – along with the plethora of fouls – and by the time the half concluded, Indiana trailed 61-55.
Danny Granger, who’s still recovering from a knee operation he had a little more than six months ago, played the first 8:32 of the third period with the usual starters minus Lance Stephenson. Granger was still missing layups at the basket as his lift hasn’t quite returned, though his comfort increased with each play. He was just 2-for-10 from the floor, so his shot isn’t yet falling as often as he’d like, but that’ll come. Right now, getting reps in preseason games is exactly what he needs.
Vogel went to his bench for much of the fourth period and Orlando Johnson shined in his limited minutes. The second-year player played aggressive, reading the defense and penetrating into the lane when he could. He finished with 11 points, but left four more on the table though, going just 2-for-6 at the foul line.
The Pacers’ pressing need all game was to defend and stop the ball in transition. They did neither, and it cost them the game. Last season, Houston was one of the top-scoring teams in the league and their play hasn’t changed. Giving up 116 points surely won’t sit well with Vogel. Houston came away with the 20-point victory, and these two teams will do it all over again on Sunday when they take the court in Taipei.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George turned the ball over five times, but he was an efficient 7-of-13 from the floor to lead the Pacers with 17 points. David West tallied 14 points and George Hill and Luis Scola each chipped in 10. Roy Hibbert, going against Howard, had six points, eight rebounds, four blocks, and four turnovers.
Omri Casspi recorded the game’s lone double-double, with 17 points and 10 rebounds – off the bench. Donatas Motiejunas netted 16 points and Chandler Parsons added 15. Dwight Howard was limited to nine points, three rebounds and one block in 24 minutes of play. Like Hibbert, Howard turned the ball over four times.
The Rockets had their way inside, scoring 62 of their 116 points (53 percent) in the paint – 20 more than the Pacers. The Pacers failed to slow the Rockets in transition and allowed 26 points.
The Rocket’s bench narrowly outscored the Pacers’ 54-45.
“Tough loss. It’s early in the preseason. I thought our guys still struggled a little bit with our transition defense. You have to credit the Rockets for their persistent running game. Did some good things offensively, moved the ball pretty well, [but it] just wasn’t enough though.” – Frank Vogel
“I just think they're a speedy team, and we got to work better on our ball containment and our transition defense.” – Frank Vogel on the Rockets
“We’ve got some flexibility with our bench units…Those guys still have a ways to go in terms of learning our system. I really like the talent we have coming off the bench and I think it’s going to be a strength of ours this year.” – Frank Vogel on his bench
Stat of the Game
The Rockets scored 27 points off of 19 Pacers turnovers.
- Ron Howard and Darnell Jackson didn’t see the floor for the Pacers. The Rockets didn’t play Omer Asik (calf strain), Marcus Camby (plantar fasciitis) Francisco Garcia (groin), Greg Smith (hip) and Reggie Williams (groin) due to injuries.
- Paul George received the loudest reaction from the crowd during player introductions.
- NBA Commissioner David Stern was in attendance.
- Pacers owner Herb Simon made the trip with the team.
The Pacers play the Houston Rockets once again on Sunday – this time in Taipei, Taiwan. The game is at 1:30 am and will air live on both FOX Sports Indiana and 1070 The Fan.