It was easily the best offensive performance from Houston this season and the team now has some of their confidence back before they tackle their rough schedule this week with Denver and Golden State on the schedule.
The team came out of the gates on fire with a 17-5 run, but Indiana was able to return the favor and even the score out. The score remained tight until the second quarter when Houston’s offense exploded, posting 44 points in the frame and outscoring Indiana by 21 points. The Rockets took a 22-point lead into halftime where the team was able to coast from there. In the first half, the team shot 65.8 percent from the floor and made 14 of 22 three-point attempts, good for 63.6 percent.
Reigning MVP James Harden did his job, dropping a season-high 40 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. It was the Beard’s best game of the season and he looked more like the MVP-version of himself, which was nice to see. Chris Paul also got out of his funk with 26 points on 8-13 shooting from the field.
With Carmelo Anthony and Gerald Green missing the game tonight with an illness and injury respectively, the team got a much-needed boost off the bench from rookies Isaiah Hartenstein and Gary Clark.
Hartenstein, the big man from Germany, got four quick points in the first quarter and was Capela’s backup for most of the night. Though he was not perfect, he was serviceable and diligent in his efforts this evening.
Clark, the rookie from Cincinnati, is beginning to carve out a role for himself in the rotation. He is fitting in very nicely and his role continues to grow as the season moves on. Though he is on a two-way contract, the chances of him becoming a full-fledged member of the Rockets’ roster and rotation increase after every game. Clark scored just six points, but had eight rebounds (four offensive) and played 33 minutes.
For Indiana, Victor Oladipo led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic was also very effective with 20 points on 6-11 shooting.
With the win, the Rockets have secured the season series sweep over the Pacers and improve to 5-7 on the season. While tonight did not alleviate all of the Rockets’ struggles, tonight was certainly a step in the right direction.
Let’s see if the Rockets can keep the momentum going on Tuesday night as they face one of the league’s best teams in the Denver Nuggets. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. CT.