National Basketball Association
Indiana 120, Houston 101
When: 6:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 29, 2017
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
#19 James Capers, #33 Sean Corbin, #44 Brett Nansel
INDIANAPOLIS -- With 33 points, Indiana's Paul George led all scorers Sunday night in the Pacers' emphatic 120-101 victory against the Houston Rockets.
But it was George's defensive effort on Houston star James Harden -- 15 points on 3 of 17 shooting including 2 of 10 from 3-point range -- that was the primary topic of postgame conversation in the locker room.
"I just wanted to make it as difficult as possible for him," George said. "I just tried to keep a body on him without fouling. For us, that was the best game offensively and defensively in a long time. He is so good -- so talented -- that you can't let him have freedom."
George's peers recognized the excellent effort.
"This was a great night that started with our defense ... Paul George on Harden," Indiana point guard Jeff Teague said. "The team followed in line."
Indiana coach Nate McMillan echoed that opinion.
"PG's defense was great," McMillan said. "James does such a great job drawing fouls, but we limited him to seven free throws. We made James shoot contested shots. Paul's length made him the best guy on James, even though that still is a tough matchup.
"We established our defense early, and then Jeff Teague was really good running our offense. He continues to play very well."
Myles Turner added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana (25-22), Teague had 17 points and 15 assists and Glenn Robinson III scored 14.
Ryan Anderson led Houston (35-16) with 27 points. Harden shot 3 of 17 and was held below 20 points for the seventh time.
Eric Gordon added 14 points for the Rockets, who lost for the seventh time in 11 games.
"Tonight was nothing man ... we just didn't have it," Harden said. "It was a tough game."
George scored 30 points for the fourth straight game as the Pacers finished January 9-4.
"With a team like Houston, they can get back into a game quickly with their 3-pointers, so it was important for us to have a good third quarter," Turner said.
The Pacers got 13 third-quarter points from George and led 90-70 with 12 minutes remaining. George had 28 through 36 minutes. Turner had 16 points and 10 rebounds after three periods, and Teague had 13 points and 12 assists at that point.
Indiana quickly stretched its halftime advantage to 64-47, but a Harden 3-pointer with 6:23 to go in the third period trimmed the deficit to 65-53. George countered with five quick points for a 70-53 Pacers lead.
"They played really well," Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said of Indiana. "We played really bad. We didn't have pop, and we looked and played like a tired team. We have been great all year being resilient, and tonight, we just didn't have it. We're going to get back home now and take care of business."
Led by 15 points and six rebounds from George, the Pacers built a 57-43 lead through two quarters, shooting 55.6 percent (25 of 45), including 66.7 percent the opening period (14 of 21).
Indiana got a collective 30 first-half points from big men Thaddeus Young, Turner, Lavoy Allen and Al Jefferson. Those four made 13 of 18 field goal attempts.
"I thought our second group brought energy and really pushed the ball," Robinson III said. "I'm comfortable coming off the bench now, especially since I am capable of doing multiple things."
Harden made only 1 of 10 first-half shots and scored only five points. The Rockets shot only 30.2 percent during the first 24 minutes (13 of 43), including only 4 of 20 from beyond the arc. Anderson had 10 first-half points to lead Houston.
NOTES: Rockets G Eric Gordon is battling lower back tightness. ... The Pacers were without G Rodney Stuckey (sore left hamstring). ... Houston was coming off Friday night's victory at Philadelphia. Indiana beat Sacramento in overtime on Friday night. ... The Rockets are the NBA's second-highest scoring team at 114.5 points per game. Houston also is second in assists (25.8) and fifth in field goal percentage (46.9). ... Indiana ranks second in free-throw percentage (81.8) and third in steals (8.8). ... Before Sunday, the Pacers had beaten the Rockets three of the past four times the teams met in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. ... Indiana was 20 of 46 from 3-point range in consecutive wins over Minnesota and Sacramento. ... Houston G James Harden had 51 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists on Friday night at Philadelphia.
Top Game Performances
Ryan Anderson 27
Paul George 33
James Harden 8
Jeff Teague 15
Trevor Ariza 9
Myles Turner 10
James Harden 7
||Free Throws Made
Jeff Teague 7
James Harden 3
Myles Turner 3
Sam Dekker 2
Myles Turner 4
Team Stats Summary
Indiana will play their next game on the road against Orlando. The Pacers have a W/L % of .458 after a win and .609 after a loss.
Houston will play their next game at home against Sacramento. The Rockets have a W/L % of .629 after a win and .812 after a loss.