Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 at 8:00 PM EDT at the Toyota Center

Game Preview: IND at HOU

Scott Agness | March 25, 2013

Matchup

Wednesday’s game pits the NBA’s best defensive team (Indiana) against the highest-scoring team (Houston). Back in January, the defensive-minded team ended the game 10-points in front.

The Pacers have 11 games remaining on their regular season schedule. All but four are on the road, where the Pacers are 14-13 since their abysmal 1-6 start. Injuries have been a concern all season long due to Danny Granger’s knee. But health is an issue now more than ever, with four key players – George Hill, Lance Stephenson, David West and Granger – all missing Monday’s game against Atlanta.

Related: Granger to Return "Sometime" on Road Trip »

The Rockets, winners in five of their last six games, close out a seven-game home-stand against the Pacers. They are a masterful offensive team in all aspects - in the paint, behind the arc, at the line, and in transition. They average a league-best 106.3 points per game and make more than 46 percent of their shots. On the other end, however, the Rockets are giving up almost 103 points per game, which is the third most in the league.

In the last meeting, Paul George kept James Harden in check. Harden, a first-time All-Star that is fifth in the NBA in scoring with 26.3 points per game, made just 26 percent of his shots in the loss. Jeremy Lin signed with the Rockets in the offseason and has given the Rockets 13 points and six assists as a starter. Omer Asik also joined the club as a free agent and will be a key matchup to watch, as he’ll battle Roy Hibbert in the post.

Related: What They're Saying: Mar. 27 »

The Pacers hope to at least have a couple of their guys back to assist on this West Coast swing. There’s very little separation in the Eastern Conference standings – they’re just two games ahead of fourth place Brooklyn. So although they’ve already punch their ticket to the playoffs, securing seeding is critical.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

Tyler Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough

Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin

James Harden

James Harden

Chandler Parsons

Chandler Parsons

Donatas Motiejunas

Donatas Motiejunas

Omer Asik

Omer Asik

Injury Update

Pacers: George Hill (day-to-day, left groin strain), Lance Stephenson (day-to-day, right hip-flexor strain), David West (day-to-day, lower back sprain), Danny Granger (day-to-day, left knee)
Rockets: Tim Ohlbrecht (questionable, right ankle sprain)

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won the last two meetings and six of the last eight.
  • Indiana is seven wins (or Chicago losses) away from securing the Central Division title.
  • Over 66 percent of Houston’s points come outside the lane, third-most in the NBA.

Quotable

"We have 11 games left and seven of them are on the road, so all the goals we’ve talked about all year – winning the Central Division, highest seed possible – it’s going to be accomplished on the road." – Frank Vogel on this road trip

"Young teams typically don’t play as well on the road. A lot of factors go into it – make sure you’re resting, make sure you’re getting your nutrition, dealing with the crowds, dealing with the calls you get on the road. I think those are some factors and I think young players just feel more comfortable at home.” – Frank Vogel on keys to playing on the road

"I think this trip right here will make or break us as far as getting us prepared to play on the road. It’s going to be a tough trip for us. If we can come out on a winning streak, 3-1 or at least 2-2, we’ll see where we’re at but this can be pivotal to where we stay in the standings.” – Paul George

"It would be nice to go out there and get a couple wins. We want to be at least .500 on the road [they are 15-19] so this is a chance for us to go out there play extremely well.” – Roy Hibbert

"Everybody is dealing with injuries. Top to bottom, every team in the league is dealing with something to this magnitude this time of year.” – Frank Vogel on injuries

Last Meeting

Paul George fueled a great start for the Pacers, scoring 18 their 31 points in the opening quarter. In fact, he had the same amount of points as the entire Houston team after the first. The Rockets got within seven in the fourth, but never seriously challenged. The Pacers displayed excellent ball movement and captured their 11th straight win at home, 105-95.

George not only led the game in scoring, but he also held James Harden to 17 points (seven below his average) on 5-of-19 shooting. David West, who finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, flirted with a triple-double. Rockets center Omer Asik scored a career-high 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan (no simulcast on 1070 The Fan), Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst) Michael Grady (host)

Next Home Game

Good seats are still available for the Pacers' next home game, Friday, April 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 8:00 PM. Find Tickets »

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