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Pacers hand Rockets first preseason loss 110-100

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The Rockets couldn’t keep up with the hustling Pacers.

NBA: Preseason-Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets fell to the Pacers 110-100 Thursday night, bringing them to 1-1 on the preseason. With the win, the Pacers became 1-0.

Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 24 points on 50 percent shooting. T.J. Leaf and Domantas Sabonis also recorded double-doubles.

For tonight’s recap, I am going to do something a little different. As the preseason is all about looking at individual games rather than the team’s, I am going to go player-by-player for the Rockets and give each of them a paragraph detailing how they played this evening.

The Good

Carmelo Anthony

16 points, 6/9 shooting, 4/6 3-pointers, 5 rebounds

If there were a game ball for tonight’s game, Melo probably gets it. He was a big part of an 18-2 stretch for the Rockets early in the third that brought the Rockets back in the game. Melo was the center in the small-ball lineup and was very effective in the role. I hope the Rockets flash that lineup often during the season because they have so much versatility, especially when Melo is hitting his threes.

Michael Carter-Williams

15 points, 7/12 shooting, 5 rebounds, 5 assists

The pleasant early surprise in camp has been MCW. The former Rookie of the Year is looking more like Philly MCW and less like Charlotte MCW, who looked unplayable at points last season. Carter-Williams is an important depth piece for this team, and he can be strong on the defensive end. Tonight, he did something right as he was the Rockets were +17 when MCW was on the court.

James Ennis

12 points, 5/10 shooting, 5 rebounds

Big Game James got the start tonight at small forward, something the Rockets will likely try for part of the season. Ennis’s box score does not reflect all of what he was able to do tonight. He was strong on the defensive side of the ball and knocked down two of his threes. Overall, tonight was a solid night for Ennis.

Gary Clark

8 points, 3/6 shooting

The rookie from Cincy had a good stretch of 16 minutes off the bench with eight points. He provided good energy in the second unit. Hopefully Clark gets some good minutes here in the preseason before the Rockets banish him to the Valley for the start of the G-League season.

The Bad

James Harden

17 points, 5/14 shooting, 10 assists

Harden’s offense was not up to his standards tonight. It was by no means a bad night, but given that we are talking about the reigning MVP, more should be expected. A few hiccups are expected as he tries to familiarize himself with his new teammates. That’s what the preseason is for!

Eric Gordon

12 points, 3/7 shooting, 6 turnovers

EG’s six turnovers are the glaring issue here. In total, the team committed 26, which is nowhere near acceptable. It’s hard to win a basketball game when you take 26 chances and give them to the other team. But again, that’s what the preseason is for!

The Ugly

Chris Paul

6 points, 2/7 shooting, 5 assists

CP3 was not himself tonight. It was a far stretch from what we saw in Birmingham, and what we saw for 90 percent of last season. He was also a -29 on the court, a team-low by a large margin.

Marquese Chriss

5 points, 2/8 shooting, 5 rebounds

Chriss got the start tonight with Clint Capela sitting out, but the 21-year old Chriss failed to make the most of it. He missed several easy shots and dunks and did not look to be in midseason form. But yet again, that’s what the preseason is for! However, he did not help his case to get more minutes tonight.

Isaiah Hartenstein

9 points, 3/5 shooting, 2 rebounds

Hartenstein probably ends up in the ‘Good’ section if it was not for his ankle injury he sustained in the fourth quarter. He rolled his left ankle and it looks like he might miss a game or two. His injury lands him in the ‘Ugly’ section, and he joins Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, Capela and Nene in the ‘Not 100%’ category on the Rockets.

The Rockets continue their preseason Sunday as the team faces the Spurs at 3:00 p.m. CT on AT&T Sports Southwest.