INDIANAPOLIS – On Sunday evening, the Indiana Pacers (6-8) were overmatched from the start.
The Western Conference-leading Houston Rockets (11-3) came into Bankers Life Fieldhouse and handed the Pacers a decisive loss, 118-95. James Harden led the way for Houston, scoring 26 points and dishing out 15 assists. Clint Capela also turned in a double-double for the Rockets, with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
Indiana has now lost five of their last six games.
It was clear from the beginning that the Rockets were the better team, as they opened Sunday’s contest on a 18-4 run. Houston owned the first quarter, using five three-pointers to take a 35-18 lead into the second period.
Indy never led, but they did show some fight in the second quarter. Domantas Sabonis was in the middle of a 11-0 Pacers run that shaved Houston’s lead down to six, but the Rockets bounced back to take a 63-51 advantage into the halftime break.
In the third quarter, Victor Oladipo squared off with Harden. Oladipo score nine in the period, but Harden bested him with 12 points of his own to help Houston grow their lead to 87-71 after three.
Sunday’s final quarter also belonged to the visitors, as the Rockets outscored the Pacers 31-24. Houston led by as many as 23 while never allowing Indiana to ever really make any last run at their opposition.
Oladipo led all scores with 28 points, shooting 11-for-17 from the field. Sabonis chipped in 17 off of the bench for the Pacers, knocking down seven of the ten shot he took. Myles Turner was the only other Pacer to reach double-figures, recording 13 points.
It was a tough night for Indy’s starters, especially Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic. Young was held scoreless, shooting 0-for-7, while Bogdanovic only posted five points on 2-for-10 shooting. Darren Collison, Indiana’s last starter, only contributed nine points.
Houston jacked up 47 three-point attempts and while they only connected on 36.2% of their shots from downtown, the Rockets still nailed 17 three-pointers.
The Pacers will have a couple days of rest before returning to the floor on Wednesday night. It will be a 8:00 p.m. tip from FedEx Forum, as Indy battles the Memphis Grizzlies.