I hope the Pacers save some of this good play for the regular season. As Quinn Buckner would say: My goodness!
The Indiana Pacers used their pressure defense to set the pace early before running away from the Rockets on their way to a 119-104 win at the Fieldhouse. The fifteen-point final deficit doesn't accurately portray the dominant play of the Pacers, since a late fourth-quarter run by the Rockets made the final score more respectable.
Consider that the Pacers had 71 points at the half and an even100 after three quarters and it all seemed so easy.
The tone was set on defense. After Luis Scola scored on Houston's initial possession, the Pacers collected five steals and a blocked shot to stop six of the next eight possessions for the Rockets. Defense led to offense, helping the Pacers push out to an early 17-10 lead and the Rockets were chasing the Pacers for the rest of the game.
Pressure and pace were in full effect and wore out the Rockets who started the game a bit weary after playing on Thursday night in Toronto. Should be interesting to see how the Pacers respond tomorrow night in New Orleans. Shouldn't be a problem since no body played a ton of minutes. Luther head logged 28 minutes but everyone else was around the 15-20 minute range.
After the jump, more player and game observations:
- The Pacers held Houston to 37% shooting from the floor while shooting 49% themselves which includes a poor shooting finish for the Pacers.
- The Pacers had measly 10 turnovers which is a vast improvement after averaging just over 20 turnovers/game in their first three outings.
- Houston native, T.J. Ford only had one of those turnovers while playing brilliantly in just over 17 minutes of burn. Ford is really getting after the ball on defense and found a way to energize both ends of the floor finishing with 11 points, 6 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals. He even knocked down a 3-ball for good measure.
- Danny Granger continues to play a controlled, smooth preseason game while producing at will. Like Ford, Granger play just over 17 minutes but easily pumped in 22 points with 4 treys. Misses have become a surprise for 33 and seriously, he appears to be playing the game in third gear while everyone else is in fifth. Like driving a high-performance car on the freeway, when it feels like your driving 50 mph but your really going 80.
- The Rockets killed the Pacers on the offensive glass, saving 24 possession by grabbing their own misses. Overall the Rockets finished with a 58-43 rebounding edge. Obviously, the Rockets had far more misses to grab than the Pacers, but that's still not good.
- Jeff Foster was back in action after missing the games in Taipei and Beijing. Foster played 13 first-half minutes and then sat out the second half. He was able to mix it up for 6 points and 3 rebounds while sporting the plastics face mask and white headband combo. Yikes!
- Luther Headalso returned to action and again showed and active game at both ends as he relished the chance to battle his former mates in red. Both Head and Dhantay Jones do a nice job taking a rebound and just taking it up the court to push the action. Dhantay had 11 points and Luther 13 with most of those points coming in transition opportunities.
- Roy Hibbert had a tough time getting his offensive game together as he missed 9 of 11 shots. The Rockets didn't have a legit center to throw at him and with the pace of the game, establishing a low post presence just never happened. He was able to make an impact defensively with a couple of early blocks. Solomon Jones pitched in 4 blocks himself, but both big guys missed out on some rebounds, finishing with just two each.
- Troy Murphymade sure there would be no third quarter let down in this one, as he came out smoking after the half. Murph finished with 17 points and while he had three 3-balls, he did show off the mid-range game he claims to have worked on this summer. It was actually strange to see him pull up inside the arc from 17 feet, but real pleasant to see him knock it down.
- Former Purdue Boilermaker Carl Landry played about 17 minutes and was on a tear late in the game. He finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds while rockin' the rim a few times with strong finishes.