The Houston Rockets looked a little different out there Friday night against the Toronto Raptors.
Although their defense was still lapsing, they did enough to make it count against their opponent.
They fought hard, they got in their heads and they have now swept the season series against them.
The Raptors are a good team but we’ve had their number all season.
It was definitely a step in the right direction but tremendous strides need to be made in these last nine games in order for us to make the playoffs.
Because if we don’t, I’d consider this season a lost cause and a failure.
We HAVE to qualify for the playoffs to make something of this season.
Any way, the Rockets will take on the 38-34 Indiana Pacers tonight on the road.
They’ve been up-and-down just as we are but they’re quite talented defensively. The Pacers will be facing the Rockets on a back-to-back at their house after a 120-110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets last night.
We’ll see if fatigue catches up with them and hopefully the Rockets can pounce on that advantage.
So who’s leading the charge for the Pacers?
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Paul George is the leading scorer (23.4 PPG). Monta Ellis is the assist man (4.8 APG) and steals king (1.90 SPG). Ian Mahinmi is the top board-getter (7.0 RPG) and Myles Turner is the premier shot-blocker (1.50 BPG).
Let’s talk about what the Pacers do well.
They’re an excellent defensive team. The Pacers are ranked 3rd in defensive efficiency, allowing a stingy 99.9 points per 100 possessions.
They love to have the basketball in their hands. The Pacers are tied for 9th in the PACE Factor — along with the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans — averaging 99.1 possessions per game.
They’re larceny experts. The Pacers are 4th in the NBA in steals, averaging 9.1 of those per game. On the other hand, the Rockets are 1st in the league in steals (10.1 per game) so we’ll have to see how this evens out.
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James Harden is suffering from an illness; and, as a result, he missed yesterday’s practice. He’ll likely be ruled as QUESTIONABLE for tonight but I’d imagine he’d give it a go as he does not like to miss games, for whatever the reason.
Paul George had been suffering from a calf injury but seems to back in stride as he returned last night to put up 27 points, four rebounds and three steals in last night’s 120-110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Sources: Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle and the Indiana Pacers
Three Things to Watch:
- Patrick Beverley vs. George Hill
- James Harden?/Michael Beasley vs. Monta Ellis
- Trevor Ariza vs. Paul George
104-101 in a Rockets’ win!
The Rockets hit the road to take on the Pacers at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. CDT.
The game will be televised on ROOT Sports Southwest and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM (KBME), Sirius/XM Internet 890 and La Ranchera 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.