The league’s best defense from a season ago struggled to slow down the Rockets for the second time this preseason. Indiana gave up 116 points in the first meeting with the Rockets, and Houston didn’t slow down once in Taiwan.
The Rockets continued to shoot it well from three point range as they went 15-33 from deep. The Pacer defense looked out of sync again as they were frequently late to rotate or closeout on a shooter. Francisco Garcia led the three point shooting party for the Rockets going 5-8 from three point range.
For Indiana, Danny Granger had an aggressive night. In 30 minutes he ended up with nine rebounds and 15 points and knocked down three of his five three-point attempts. However, Granger still showed a lot of rust as he was just 2-8 from inside the arc, leading to 5-13 shooting performance.
Paul George led the way with 19 points on 14 shots and 3-5 on three pointers. While George Hill added 17 points while going 8-8 from the free throw line.
The good news for the Pacers is that the five-man unit of Granger, George, Hill, David West and Roy Hibbert did a lot of the damage in the third quarter when Indiana scored 34 points. That unit, as well as Lance Stephenson, struggled in the first matchup with Houston, but showed offensive potential in the third quarter.
The mini comeback was started by three-point shooting, as early in the third Granger, George and Hill all knocked down threes.
The Pacers did not look to post up the Rockets very much in the first half. That appeared to be a message Frank Vogel sent at halftime, as the first two Pacer possessions of the second half went to Hibbert in the post. Hibbert finished the game with 11 points and two rebounds.
Beyond Hibbert, the Pacers failed to take advantage of smaller defenders. The Rockets played Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley together, which meant that one of them had to be guarding Stephenson, George or Granger, a perfect opportunity for Indiana to post up a wing and use their physical advantage to get easy points. Also, West was guarded by Chandler Parsons at times and Indiana did not take full advantage of that matchup.
For the third straight game Indiana was outrebounded, this time 46-35. West and Hibbert combined for just six boards, only one of which was an offensive rebound. Indiana had just three total offensive rebounds in the game.
Chris Copeland continues to struggle shooting the three ball as he finished the game 2-8 from deep. Copeland was the first post to see action off of the bench as Luis Scola for what appeared to be a night for Scola to rest.
Stephenson struggled to get his offense flowing as he took just four shots and wound up with four points. While West only took six shots and finished with six points.
Jeremy Lin was the star the fans in Taiwan wanted to see and he impressed with 17 points and four assists. He went 3-4 from beyond the three point range and 6-8 from the field.
Next up, the Dallas Mavericks come to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday for the fourth preseason game.