The Pacers welcome the Houston Rockets to the Fieldhouse for their annual visit. James Harden and his teams have struggled mightily in Indy during his career, but this time the Pacers have to find a way to slow down Harden without Paul George covering the explosive guard.
Harden has always been infected with PG disease in Indy, but this year will find a Pacers defense that struggles to slow any opponent down, let alone one that can burn a team from behind the arc and also get into the lane with comparable success. Nate McMillan wants his team to focus on rebound because while the Rockets are averaging 44 three attempts per game they are missing around 29 which leave a lot of long rebounds up for grabs.
While Harden is leading the Rockets attack, Eric Gordon has helped fill in for Chris Paul's absence by averaging over 23 points per game.
The Pacers can try to pound the Rockets inside but will have to rely on a poor shooting night from the visitors who arrive in Indy on a back-to-back after rolling past Memphis in Houston on Saturday night. Despite a comfortable lead throughout, Harden played 38 minutes on Saturday so may expect to go full throttle at the Pacers.
With the 8pm ET tip time, the Rockets will be playing a second game 22 hours later. Fair? No. But the Pacers need to expose the inequity.
Fortunately, effort has been the Pacers best attribute so they will need to bring it and force the Rockets to defend in order to play for the W down the stretch.
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Rockets at Pacers - 6:00 PM EDT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
TV: Fox Sports Indiana
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan
Projected starting lineups
Pacers: Darren Collison (PG), Victor Oladipo (SG), Bojan Bogdanovic (SF), Thaddeus Young (PF), Myles Turner (C)
Rockets: James Harden (PG), Eric Gordon (SG), Trevor Ariza (SF), Ryan Anderson (PF), Clint Capela(C)