The Pacers host the Houston Rockets on Monday night in the first of their two games this season. The two teams tangle against on Sunday in Houston.
The Pacers will have to ramp up their energy after swiping an emotional win over the Celtics on Sunday. Health remains an issue as Victor Oladipo recovers from bronchitis. Plus, Thad Young skipped the team’s shootaround to see the doctor on Monday morning but expects to be in the lineup.
Young could play a critical role with the Rockets utilizing Carmelo Anthony off the bench. Nate McMillan may need to stagger his rotation to keep Young available to guard Melo who has played well in the reserve role of late.
James Harden remains the league’s most unique and lethal scoring weapon (we see you Steph and Giannis) when he has it going. After missing three games, Harden eased his way back into action on Saturday night with 25 points and 7 assists against the Bulls.
Last season Harden lit up the Pacers and lead the way to two runaway wins by the Rockets. Houston spread the floor in those games and when the Pacers tried to contain Harden (in both games), Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon were ready to drain threes to make the Pacers pay.
Ariza and Anderson are no longer with the Rockets and Gordon does not expect to play, but the Rockets maintain the same formula for attacking on offense. While the Pacers pride themselves on defensive effort, their offense will have to pitch in to keep pace.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Sports Indiana
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner
Rockets: Chris Paul, James Harden, James Ennis III, P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela
HOU: Eric Gordon (adductor strain) - out, Brandon Knight (knee) - out, Nene (right calf) - out
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.