The Rockets are 0-2 in their most recent “Final chance at a slash on Chrive’s chart” games.
The Pacers had a tumultuous trade deadline. After testing the trade market on Paul George, they decided (along with the Celtics) to stand pat. They’re now in an interesting position, where everyone seems to believe that George heading to the Lakers is a certainty. Except George, who pretty much says that’s hogwash.
Tonight is about the Pacers visiting the Rockets. Indiana beat the Rockets in the midst of a 7-game winning streak. They followed that up with a 6-game losing streak. They are 21-10 at home but just 9-19 on the road. If they were .500 at home, they would be in the thick of the race for the 2 or 3 seed in the East.
The last time these teams played, the Pacers played five-out on offense with Myles Turner. Even though the Pacers only shot 5-21 from deep, the threat of them stretching the floor forced Houston to abandon the paint and led to layups and cuts to the rim. On shots other than 3s, the Pacers shot 64%. That’s a number high enough to beat Moreyball.
Most of the other statistics in the game were fairly even. The Rockets also shot poorly from deep. Rebounding and turnovers skewed towards the Pacers, but the easy decider was overall field goal percentage, which was 54% to 41% in favor of the bad guys. Houston was at the end of a 5-game road trip where they could barely walk up and down the court. Tonight, no such excuse exists.
The Pacers are led by George, but there are other formidable talents there too. Myles Turner is showing that Rick Barnes didn’t know what he was doing at UT. Jeff Teague is a fantastic point guard who doesn’t get credit because he’s not flashy. C.J. Miles is shooting 42% from deep. Thaddeus Young is a Rocket killer forever, even if he hasn’t murdered us for a few years now. And after Tim Hardaway Jr. killed Houston, the Rockets should fear Glenn Robinson III.
Finally, Aaron Brooks is the Rockets legend to be honored tonight. I did an Aaron Brooks tribute last month, so we’ll skip that.
Without further ado, here’s highlights of a great Rockets-Pacers game from a couple of years ago. This was the game that led to this gif.
Tip-off is at 8:30pm CT on TNT