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Rockets vs. Pacers game preview: Hakeem vs. Reggie, it is not

NBA: Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets return home from a brutal three-game road trip to take on the Indiana Pacers in a makeup contest that required rescheduling due to the winter storm back in February. The Rockets lost to the Pacers earlier this year. It was an odd time when James Harden was still on the team.

The Pacers are 25-27 (and playing the Los Angeles Clippers as I type this) and are comfortably situated in the play-in picture in the Eastern Conference. A good finishing kick could see Indiana finish in the top 8 (and get homecourt in those play-in games), but it would take something disastrous for them to drop out of the top 10 since the bottom 6 teams in the East are either not good (Chicago, Toronto, and Washington) or actively tanking (Detroit, Orlando, and Cleveland).

These teams both part of the James Harden deal. The Pacers were able to extract Caris LeVert in the deal and an extra second round pick (along with some cash) when LeVert’s physical showed a spot on his kidney. That spot was cancer, but it has been removed and LeVert has returned to playing. It’s a remarkable story, really.

The other starters for Indiana include Malcolm Brogdon, Justin Holiday, and Domantas Sabonis. Myles Turner is a usual starter, but has missed four straight games with an ankle injury. Other contributors are Doug McDermott, Edmond Sumner, Goga Bitadze, T.J. McConnell, Aaron Holiday, and former Rocket Jeremy Lamb.

Tip-off is at 8pm on AT&T SportsNet Southwest