Pacers crush Rockets in Danny Granger’s return

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers absolutely dominated the third quarter and snapped their two game losing streak with a 114-81 victory over the Houston Rockets. Indiana outscored Houston 31-20 in the third, and the Pacers shot 53 percent from the field, while holding the third best shooting team in the NBA to 38 percent.

It was Danny Granger’s return, but the night belonged to Paul George – as does the team now. George led a third quarter onslaught that saw the Pacers build their 11-point half time lead into an 87-65 advantage going into the fourth; George scored 12 of his 24 points in the third, shooting 5 of 7 from the field.

George sparkled on both ends of the court as he held James Harden – the league’s sixth leading scorer – to 12 points on 3 of 14 shooting. Add in 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, in just three quarters, and it was an all-around showcase from George, when the Pacers needed to get the taste of a two game losing streak out of their mouths.

But it wasn’t all about George, as the entire team was in a groove shooting the ball. The Pacers shot way above their season average (45%) from the field as they shot 53 percent. Indiana flipped the script on Houston by winning the three point battle. The Pacers were 12 of 26 on three pointers, while the Rockets, who shoot the most threes in the NBA, were just 4 of 22 from beyond the arc.

Granger made his season debut at the 4:05 mark of the first quarter and quickly made an impact as he came from behind to swat a Dwight Howard shot. Granger didn’t do a whole lot in the first half as he shot 0 of 3, but scored two points on free throws when he drove coast-to-coast.

Granger’s final stat line: 22 minutes, 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 5 turnovers.

Indiana took advantage of the power forward matchup as David West scored 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting, most of which was when he was guarded by Terrance Jones. Luis Scola was a big part of the Pacers hot shooting as he scored 13 points on 5 of 7 shooting

Dwight Howard did play well through about two-and-a-half quarters as he scored 19 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and swatted five shots. His counterpart, Roy Hibbert, had nine points and six rebounds. Howard was 9 of 16 from the field, Hibbert 3 of 8.

Indiana’s shooting led to a high assist total for the Pacers; four of the starters had at least four assists. The Pacers had 29 assists on 43 made field goals.

Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with six assists. He had 16 points and six rebounds to go along with his passing. George Hill, who had five assists, had 12 points, while knocking down 2 of his 4 three pointers.

It was complete and utter domination from Indiana, which was the perfect recipe to welcome back Danny Granger and snap a two game losing streak.

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