Pacers at Rockets

GAME RECAP: Rockets 111, Pacers 102

James Harden scores 44 as the Rockets get the win over the Pacers, 111-102.

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GAME RECAP: Rockets 111, Pacers 102

James Harden scores 44 as the Rockets get the win over the Pacers, 111-102.
Nov 15, 2019  |  00:01

Postgame: Nate McMillan - Nov. 15, 2019

November 15, 2019 - After a loss to the Rockets, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan discussed losing Malcolm Brogdon to injury, the play of the bench and the team's injuries.
Nov 15, 2019  |  01:45

McConnell And-One

November 15, 2019 - T.J. McConnell finishes through a foul.
Nov 15, 2019  |  00:14

McDermott Drills Three Up Top

November 15, 2019 - Doug McDermott is pure from beyond the arc.
Nov 15, 2019  |  00:07

Goga's Nice Baseline Dime

November 15, 2019 - Goga Bitadze threads the needle to Doug McDermott.
Nov 15, 2019  |  00:08

Aaron & Sabonis Pick and Roll

November 15, 2019 - Aaron Holiday and Domantas Sabonis link up for a nice pick and roll.
Nov 15, 2019  |  00:08

Brogdon Feeds Sampson

November 15, 2019 - Brogdon makes his way to the hoop before finding Sampson cutting to the hoop for the slam.
Nov 15, 2019  |  00:09

Game Rewind: Pacers 102, Rockets 111

Friday, November 15, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET at Toyota Center
by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

Game Recap

Coming into this game, Indiana knew the Houston Rockets would be their toughest opponent to date. However, they didn’t know they’d be facing Houston without Malcolm Brogdon for the majority of the game.

Brogdon left the court late in the first quarter with a sore lower back and never returned. The Pacers were unable to contain James Harden and fell to Houston 111-102 at Toyota Center on Friday night. The hiccup ended a four game winning streak for the Pacers (7-5), while the Rockets (9-3) extended their current winning streak to six games.

The Rockets responded to Pacer leads with runs of 16-2 in the second quarter, and 14-0 in the fourth to deflate Indiana’s sails during key stretches of the game. The NBA’s leading scorer, James Harden, was crucial during those runs and finished the game with 44 points on 13-of-26 shooting, including 6-of-14 from long range. While the Blue & Gold limited Russell Westbrook’s effectiveness (17 points on 5-of-21 shooting), they surrendered 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting to Ben McLemore. Coming into tonight, he was averaging only 5.4 points per contest.

Domantas Sabonis and Doug McDermott led the way for the Pacers with 18 points apiece in the loss. Sabonis added 13 boards to record his eighth double-double of the season. In all, six Indiana players finished in double figures. But the offense sputtered without its starting point guard when it mattered most. After scoring in double figures for the last six games, T.J. Warren fouled out in the fourth quarter and finished with just eight points.

What was touted as an offensive battle proved the opposite over the first six minutes of the game. Both teams combined for 16 total points before the first TV timeout. Thanks to 3-of-9 shooting from the floor and four early turnovers, the Blue & Gold found themselves in a minor 10-6 hole with 6:45 remaining in the first.

The Pacers grabbed their first lead of the game, 14-12, at the 4:18 mark of the first quarter. Aaron Holiday drove right and drew defenders towards his side of the court. Holiday smartly lobbed the ball to a waiting Sabonis for the easy dunk. Shortly after, Justin Holiday’s baseline 3-pointer broke another tie and earned the Blue & Gold a 17-14 advantage with 3:21 left in the frame.

After TJ Leaf’s dunk gave the Pacers a 22-21 lead, the Rockets gave Pacers fans their first glimpse of what they’re capable of. Thabo Sefolosha responded to Leaf’s dunk with a quick layup. Then, with 1.3 seconds remaining, he added a 3-pointer to give the Rockets a 26-22 lead as the frame ended. The Pacers went from a one-point lead to a four-point deficit in 45 seconds.

After a three-game stint on the bench while nursing a concussion, Goga Bitadze displayed his talents early in the second quarter. After connecting on two free throws, he threaded a bounce pass to a cutting McDermott for the easy layup to tie the score, 28-28.

After his layup, McDermott continued to be reliable in the second for the Blue & Gold, scoring five points of a 9-3 Pacers run that led to a 42-36 lead with 6:37 remaining in the half. He finished the quarter with 10 points.

With 5:00 remaining in the half, Warren connected on two free throws to stretch the Pacers lead to 47-38. Despite Brogdon’s absence, everything appeared to be going the Pacers’ way.

However, Houston then responded with 16 unanswered points – eight coming from Harden – during a 4:16 Pacers scoring drought. Harden’s 3-pointer with 1:49 left to play in the half finally gave the Rockets a 48-47 lead. The lead grew to 54-47 before McConnell’s layup with 44.3 seconds to play broke up the run and gave a 54-49 halftime score.

During the early stages of the third, Indiana struggled to gain ground against Houston. They appeared to turn a corner after Aaron Holiday forced a turnover and found his brother Justin streaking for the fast break bucket to cut the lead to 67-63. But back-to-back 3-pointers from McLemore soon put the Pacers in a 73-63 hole with 5:05 remaining in the third.

But Indiana was not discouraged. Trailing 75-65 with 2:46 left to play in the third, Sabonis sank two free throws that started an eventual 10-0 run which erased the deficit completely. The Blue & Gold eventually jumped out in front 79-77 on Leaf’s dunk with 8.7 seconds left to play in the frame, and appeared to give the Blue & Gold some momentum. But, P.J. Tucker responded with a 3-pointer on the other end to give the Rockets an 80-79 lead heading into the final frame.

As has been recent tradition, T.J. McConnell sparked the Pacers as the fourth quarter began, the Blue & Gold’s first six points of the quarter in less than two minutes to grab an 85-82 lead. McDermott’s 3-pointer with 9:34 remaining stretched Indiana’s lead to 88-84.

But Harden and the Rockets quickly responded with a 14-0 scoring run to quickly build a 98-88 lead with 4:40 remaining in the game. Despite decent defense from Indiana, the former MVP showed off his incredible long range ability, hitting several 3-pointers well beyond the line, including one from 33 feet away.

Aaron Holiday trimmed the Rockets’ lead down to six twice in the final two minutes. But, with 1:01 remaining, 20-year NBA veteran Tyson Chandler scored his only points of the game to extend the Rockets lead to 108-100. After that, the Blue & Gold simply ran out of time to pull off the upset.

Inside the Numbers

The Pacers lost the turnover battle 16-8, and failed to force a single Houston turnover in the fourth quarter. The Rockets' eight turnovers were a season-low.

Indiana outscored Houston 52-44 in the paint.

T.J. McConnell dished out a team high seven of Indiana's 24 assists. The Rockets had just 12 assists total.

Indiana shot just 8-for-33 (24.2 percent) from 3-point range

James Harden connected on 12-of-14 free throw attempts

You Can Quote Me On That

“That’s a big loss (Malcolm Brogdon) - when you’re going up against guys like Harden and Westbrook. You not only need him offensively, but you need his size defensively. I thought our guys worked hard and gave us all that they had. We were sitting there right in that game late in the fourth with an opportunity – if you execute, get some stops, we have a chance to win it. We didn’t play well enough down the stretch to win this game.” – Pacers head coach Nate McMillan on Malcolm Brogdon being out and the team’s 17 turnovers

“I felt like we were missing energy throughout the whole game and we needed that. We needed to push it to another level to regain that lead and make a lead at times. Everybody is doing a great job of stepping up with injuries happening left and right. We’re doing a great job of still competing, but I feel like we let this one go.” – Domantas Sabonis on the game

“They are a great team and they started hitting shots. (Ben) McLemore was huge for them tonight. You kind of have to help off some of those guys and they made us pay, because Russ (Russell Westbrook) and James (Harden) are unbelievable players. You have to live with some of those. McLemore hit some big shots for them.” – Doug McDermott on what turned the game around in the fourth quarter

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have dished out 20 or more assists in every game this season.
  • With the loss, Indiana falls to 4-2 when outscoring opponents in the paint.
  • After missing three games due to a concussion, Goga Bitadze played 18 minutes and finished with six points on 2-of-3 shooting and three rebounds.
  • The Rockets have won nine of the past 12 meetings with the Pacers.

Up Next

The Pacers return to Bankers Life Fiedhouse to reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

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