Game Rewind: Pacers 94, Rockets 98

Game Recap

Victor Oladipo had been nothing short of brilliant for the Pacers in the last week, coming through in the clutch in each game during Indiana's three-game winning streak. His strong play earned him a well-deserved Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor on Monday afternoon.

On Monday night, Oladipo went toe-to-toe with last year's league MVP James Harden. But in the end, the reigning MVP made two more plays than the reigning Player of the Week.

Harden hit the go-ahead 3-pointer on one end and then stripped Oladipo on the other in a key last-minute sequence to help lift the Houston Rockets (4-5) to a 98-94 win over the Pacers (7-4).

"We still gave ourselves a chance to win," Oladipo said. "Unfortunately we didn't make the plays necessary down the stretch, but it's a part of the game.

"The beauty of it is there's another game on Wednesday."

Houston led by four points with three minutes to play, but the Pacers fought back and tied the game at 87 on Oladipo's jumper from the left elbow with 1:27 to play.

On the other end, P.J. Tucker buried a corner three to put the Rockets back in front with 1:13 to go. Again Oladipo answered, this time with a triple of his own with 55.5 seconds remaining.

Once again, Houston answered, this time with a Harden 3-pointer with 36.1 seconds remaining.

After a timeout, the Pacers put the ball in Oladipo's hands once again. But this time, Harden got the best of him, stripping Indiana's All-Star guard from behind as he drove into the lane to force a turnover.

The Pacers fouled Chris Paul, who made one of two free throws to make it a two-possession game.

Oladipo wasn't finished, however, knocking down another three with 24.7 seconds remaining to trim the deficit to 94-93.

After Harden made two free throws, Oladipo had a look to tie the game. He missed, but Paul fouled Darren Collison fighting for the rebound.

The Pacers' point guard missed the first of his two free throws, however — Indiana's 10th missed foul shot of the night. On the other end, Harden hit both of his free throws to seal the win for the Rockets.

"Good free throw shooters like myself and all of the guards, it's inexcusable to miss that many free throws," Collison said. "We've just got to get in the gym, we've got to work."

Oladipo led Indiana with 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting and pulled down six rebounds in the loss, but it wasn't quite enough.

Harden also had 28 points, going 5-for-12 from 3-point range and a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line while also tallying four rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

Harden and James Ennis III combined for 15 early points as the Rockets raced out to an early 19-10 lead. The Pacers answered with an 8-2 run to trim the deficit to three, but Houston remained in front for the remainder of the opening frame, taking a 29-22 advantage into the second quarter.

The Blue & Gold started the second strong, putting together a 15-7 run and taking their first lead of the night on Oladipo's driving layup with 7:30 remaining in the half. Houston moved back in front on Harden's layup on the other end, but the Pacers regained control with a Thaddeus Young bucket on the ensuing possession.

Indiana stayed in front for the rest of the half, extending the lead to five points on two occasions, and taking a 55-53 lead into the break.

The Pacers' strong defense kept them in front throughout the third quarter. Indiana limited Houston to 16 points and forced eight turnovers in the frame and took a 75-69 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Rockets, however, clawed back and eventually tied the game at 81 on Carmelo Anthony's 3-pointer with 6:17 remaining. Houston moved in front on their next possession, when Paul drove by Bojan Bogdanovic on the baseline and scored.

A Harden free throw a minute later after a technical foul on Pacers head coach Nate McMillan put the finishing touches on a 9-0 Rockets run to reclaim the lead.

Domantas Sabonis had 17 points, eight rebounds, and five assists off the bench for Indiana in the loss. Bogdanovic and Tyreke Evans were the only other Pacers players to score in double figures, each finishing with 11 points.

Clint Capela had a double-double for Houston with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Ennis added 13 points, while Paul added nine points and 13 assists.

The Pacers will finish out a three-game homestand on Wednesday, when they host the Philadelphia 76ers at 8:00 PM ET.

"We've just got to stay with it, stay positive," Collison said. "Everything will carry over. We're playing some good basketball."

Inside the Numbers

The Pacers outscored Houston 42-34 in the paint and 15-2 in second-chance points on Monday.

Young had eight points on 4-of-7 shooting for Indiana and a season-high 11 rebounds.

Anthony, a former NBA scoring champion, had a slow start for Houston but scored all eight of his points over the final 14:26.

The Rockets outscored the Pacers by 21 points from beyond the 3-point arc. Houston knocked down 15-of-47 triples, while the Pacers went 8-for-28.

Victor Oladipo, James Harden

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

You Can Quote Me On That

"We want to be the aggressors and get to the free throw line…and we leave 10 free throws out there tonight. We’re a much better free throw shooting team than that. We just have to continue to work at it, take a deep breath and knock them down." -McMillan

"We just have to be mentally strong down the stretch. We kind of let some plays get behind us and we didn’t execute the way we want to execute, but there were some encouraging signs. We battled that team and we played some good defense. We just have to finish it." -Collison

"Every game is different. We still gave ourselves a chance to win. We just came up short. We’ll move onto the next day, learn from this one, and get ready for Wednesday." -Oladipo

"“It was just a good, spirited win. I’m really happy with all of the guys, obviously a lot of guys came up with some big plays. They’re a good team, they play hard, Oladipo is a handful, but I’m really happy with the guys." -Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni

"Our communication has been a lot better. We were getting stops, we were able to get a swipe on Oladipo late in the game. We’ve been working every day. Our coaches have been working with us a lot on our rotations and our communication." -Ennis on Houston's defense

Stat of the Night

Free throws were the story of Monday's game. Indiana attempted 14 more free throws than the Rockets, but only made five more shots from the foul line. Indiana was 20-for-30 from the charity stripe as both Bogdanovic (6-for-9) and Evans (3-for-6) missed three free throws.


  • Houston has now won three straight games over the Pacers, including two in a row at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
  • Former North Central and Indiana University star Eric Gordon was inactive for the Rockets, missing his second straight game with a right adductor strain.
  • Purdue superfan Tyler Trent attended Monday's game and helped Mark Boyle and Slick Leonard call the game on the radio during the second quarter.

Up Next

The Pacers close out a three-game homestand on Wednesday, Nov. 7, when they welcome Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers to Bankers Life Fieldhouse at 8:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

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