Friday, January 18th at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 105, HOU 95
by Scott Agness
Back in the comforts of their own building where they've been exceptionally successful, the Pacers looked to rebound from a disappointing loss in Orlando and build some momentum heading into a four-game road trip. The challenge: the NBA’s best offense (Houston) vs. the best defense (Indiana). Who could beat the other at their own game? The Pacers would answer that, defeating the Houston Rockets 105-95 for their 11th straight home win while handing the Rockets their sixth-consecutive loss.
Paul George, stating his last-minute case for a spot on the All-Star team, scored 18 of the Pacers' (25-16) 31 first quarter points on 6-of-9 shooting. How good was he early? He matched the visitors’ entire output in the period and was more efficient in doing so. Ball movement (seven assists on 11 buckets) from the Pacers certainly helped George get in rhythm. George also held James Harden to four points (1-of-16 from the field). His early effort had the Pacers ahead by 13.
Houston (21-20) then found their groove to open the second and went on a 10-0 run. Two big changes for the Rockets in the second assisted in cutting the Pacers’ lead to three. After going 2-of-8 from 3-point range in the first and turning the ball over eight times, they cleaned up their play, knocked down their next six tries and had zero giveaways. At the half, the Pacers were in front, 59-52.
Out of the break, Frank Vogel went with his starters most of the third quarter. George, Lance Stephenson and David West played the entire period. West, Mr. Consistent, provided a boost for the Pacers, scoring nine points in the quarter. The Pacers grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the quarter and turned them into eight points.
The Pacers led by as many as 16 and never trailed in the final three quarters. Under three minutes to play, the Rockets used a 7-0 spurt to get within seven but the Pacers would hold them off for the 105-95 win. The line on Paul George’s box score no longer surprises. The 22-year-old continues to impress, both offensively and defensively.
Tonight was the midpoint of the season for the Pacers. They are 25-16 and have won 15 of their last 20 games over the last month. With all five losses coming on the road, that’s where the Pacers must improve as they head out West for four-straight road games, each against a team with a winning record.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George shined for the Pacers with 31 points (7-of-10 from long-range), six rebounds, five steals and three assists in 43 minutes of work. David West (20 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists) recorded his 12th double-double this season and George Hill added 15.
Rockets center Omer Asik scored a career-high 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting and he pulled down 12 rebounds for his 17th double-double this year.
James Harden, the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer, was held to 17 points - seven below his average – snapping his 22-game streak of scoring at least 20 points.
The Pacers are 6-1 when they score at least 100 points.
Since starting the season 4-7, the Pacers have won 21 of their last 30 games.
"Ball movement and passing was our best friend tonight." – Frank Vogel on the Pacers’ offense
"Paul George I think solidified that (he’s an All-Star) tonight. I don’t think there’s any doubt ... He was dominant tonight. All year he’s taken elite scorers and held them under their averages, forced higher turnovers than they’re used to having and he just does an exceptional job on the defensive end. These are team efforts, not just Paul George, but putting him on the ball to start really helps our cause." – Frank Vogel on Paul George
"It’s easy to start off in a flow when you get some good looks early on and that was the case tonight ... I’m not thinking too much. Now, it’s just instincts and reacting to whatever the game brings." – Paul George
"We did a good job of holding them. We know they’re first in the NBA in fast break opportunities and we tried to eliminate that." – George Hill on the Pacers’ defense
Stat of the Game
Following their worst game of the season shooting behind the arc, the Pacers shot a season’s-best 58 percent (11-of-19) tonight.
- The Pacers have beaten the Rockets in their last two meetings and have won six of the last eight.
- Gerald Green was sent home before the game with food poisoning.
- Ian Mahinmi didn’t play in the second half as he dealt with a stomach ailment.
- Colts linebacker Robert Mathis sat courtside.
The Pacers are on the road for the next four games over nine days, beginning Monday in Memphis at 1 PM EST.
Back at home: Wednesday, Jan. 30 vs. Detroit at 7 PM EST.