Player of the Game
Returned to his hometown with a flourish, scoring 17 of the Pacers' final 41 points, totaling a season-high 23 on 10-of-19 shooting off the bench, adding three rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes.
Pacers 52, Rockets 44
Rockets 20, Pacers 18
Pacers 15, Rockets 15
Points off turnovers:
Pacers 27, Rockets 19
Pacers 81, Rockets 77
Pacers 44, Rockets 38
Stat of the Night
END RESULTT.J. Ford has spent much of the past week reminiscing, watching replays of his glory days at Texas on television. Returning to his hometown of Houston Saturday night, he had a flashback game, scoring 17 of his 23 points in the second half to spark the Pacers to a 125-115 victory over the Rockets before 16,550 in Toyota Center.
Ford scored the first seven points and had two assists in a 17-2 run that gave the Pacers firm control in the final five minutes. Danny Granger tied his season high with 36 points on 12-of-17 shooting and Troy Murphy had his 23rd double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
IMPACTThe Pacers ended a number of streaks with this victory, improving to 19-36 overall and 7-22 on the road. It was their first road win in 10 games against Western Conference opponents, their first road win in 16 tries against a team at .500 or above, their first win in 10 road-road back-to-back games. It also snapped a streak of 10 losses on the second night of back-to-backs. It also was their third straight win over the Rockets, who dropped to 28-26 overall, 15-12 at home, where they've lost their last three.
KEY MOMENTSAfter giving up 62 points in the first half in New Orleans Friday night and trailing by 19 at the break, the Pacers yielded 65 to the Rockets and were down 11 heading into the second half. Houston shot 54 percent in the first half and made 7-of-12 from the 3-point line while the Pacers shot just 43 percent.
Things turned completely in the second, as the Rockets were just 16-of-42 (.381) and committed 10 turnovers while the Pacers shot 25-of-44 (.568), including 8-of-9 from the 3-point line.
Houston led 88-79 late in the third quarter but Ford scored the last six in an 11-0 run that gave the Pacers a 90-88 lead and sparked them heading into the fourth quarter while putting the Rockets on their heels. Houston was up 108-105 with 5:12 left but Ford hit a 3-pointer and a pair of mid-range jumpers to get the Pacers rolling on their 17-2 run as they held the Rockets without a field goal for more than 4½ minutes. Granger finished off the run with a pair of 3-pointers that put the Pacers up 122-110.
BY THE NUMBERSGranger made 12-of-17 from the field and 4-of-6 from the 3-point line, adding seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block in addition to his 36 points. Ford was 10-of-19 from the field and had three rebounds and three assists, scoring his 23 points in 24 minutes. Murphy shook off a slow start to score 18 points with 12 rebounds, adding four assists and four steals. Brandon Rush scored 10 and Earl Watson 10. Solomon Jones didn't have big statistics but played a key role in the second half with his activity on the boards and his energy in keeping loose balls alive. The Pacers shot .495 for the game, 11-of-20 from the 3-point line.
Aaron Brooks scored 26 with seven assists for the Rockets, hitting 11-of-20 overall and three from the arc. Luis Scola had 25 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Trevor Ariza had 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists. In his first game since being acquired from Sacramento earlier in the week, Kevin Margin scored 14 points but shot 3-of-16 from the field. He added six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Rookie Chase Budinger scored 11, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts. The Rockets shot .467 overall but missed 10 of their 29 free throws.