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Rockets vs. Pacers: Game thread, lineups, TV info and more

The Pacers and Rockets meet for their first regular season matchup at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night. Danny Granger will also make his first regular season appearance at the Fieldhouse in his first action since the preseason following a calf injury.

Mike Young
2013-14 NBA Reglar Season
December 20, 2013 - 8:00 p.m. ET
Bankers Life Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, IN
TV: ESPN/Fox Sports Indiana ---- Radio: AM 1070/107.5 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Patrick Beverly PG George Hill
James Harden SG Lance Stephenson
Chandler Parsons SF Paul George
Terrence Jones PF David West
Dwight Howard C Roy Hibbert

The Indiana Pacers welcome Danny Granger back to the playing rotation when they host the Houston Rockets on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Granger expects to play 15-20 minutes while also hoping to give the reserve unit an offensive boost. The Pacers will need all of the offense they can get on Friday night as their top rated defense will have its hands full with the Rockets.

Houston ranks among the top offensive teams in the NBA and leads the league in launching three-pointers. James Harden, Patrick Beverly and Chandler Parsons lead the attack from behind the arc while Dwight Howard takes care of business around the rim.

Harden has struggled in his past trips to the Fieldhouse including the last two games in which Paul George had him frustrated and failing to make an impact for the Rockets and OKC Thunder, respectively. The Rockets drilled the Pacers twice when the two teams played during their preseason Asia trip. Harden had no problems scoring against the Pacers in those games, but the preseason defense hardly resembled what we've seen from the Blue and Gold in the regular season.

But that defense has been slipping a bit of late, so the effort to end a two-game losing streak before it really becomes a streak will demand a return to elite for the Pacers D. They normally focus on areas where the Rocket excel, namely guarding the three-point shot and protecting the rim. The Pacers will give up mid-range shots (just ask mid-range maestro, LaMarcus Aldridge), yet the Rockets prefer to pass on those shots.

Something will have to give. Should be a fun home game tonight. Notice the 8 pm tip time to accommodate the ESPN broadcast.

For more on the Rockets, check out The Dream Shake. Also, please add your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.