Houston Rockets at Pacers: 2017-18 Game 14: Five things to watch

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 27: James Harden
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 27: James Harden /

It will be a battle of potent offenses as the Houston Rockets take on the Indiana Pacers a team that will immensely challenge their sterling 10-3 record.

Life for the Houston Rockets has been good as of late.  Despite not having Chris Paul in the lineup, this team has still been able to pull themselves from their bootstraps and win games.  His return is around the corner so it will be amazing to see how he ultimately meshes with this team.

After staying in control of last night’s match up against the Memphis Grizzlies in their 111-96 win at home, they’ll head up to Indianapolis to face a offensive-minded, 6-7 Pacers team that still continues to struggle on the other side of the floor defensively.  They’re 19th in defensive efficiency, allowing 105.8 points per 100 possessions.

On the other hand, the Rockets have elevated to 10th — tied with the Detroit Pistons — a tremendous improvement in this category year-over-year.  This will be a shootout in every sense of the world and ultimately, it will likely be our guys standing tall after the dust settles.

1.) So who’s leading the charge for the Pacers?

Victor Oladipo leds the team in scoring (23.0 PPG), Demontas Sabonis carries the torch in rebounds (10.2 RPG), Darren Collison is the man doing out the dimes (6.8 APG), Thaddeus Young plucks more steals than any other (1.5 SPG) and Myles Turner is their top shot blocker (2.5 BPG).

2.) Let’s talk about what the Pacers do well.

There’s a lot that this team does well so take a look at what makes them stand out the most.

They’re offensively potent.  The Pacers are ranked 7th in the league in offensive efficiency, averaging 106.9 points per 100 possessions.

They’re an excellent shooting team.  The Pacers are 6th in effective field goal percentage (53.3) and 9th in true shooting percentage (56.4).

They effectively take care of the basketball.  The Pacers are tied for 4th in turnover ratio — along with the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons — with 13.1 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover.

Their ball movement is above average.  The Pacers are ranked 9th in assist ratio with 17.4 percent of their possessions ending with an assist.

They have a strong affinity for using a lot of possessions.  The Pacers are ranked 10th in pace, with the team averaging 102.2 possessions per game.

3.) Injuries:

Chris Paul is getting closer than ever to a return from a bruised knee with Mike D’Antoni predicting that it would be by the middle of this month.  That’s right about now and we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled for any future developments.

Paul has been out since Oct. 11 after bumping knees with Mario Chalmers in a preseason game

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against the Memphis Grizzlies.  He would be additional boost to this high-powered offense that the Houston Rockets possess.

Nene Hilario sustained some soreness in his right ankle just after the midpoint of last night’s match up with the Grizzlies and did not return.  It’s likely that the Rockets will take precaution and rest him tonight — I’d deem him DOUBTFUL for tonight.

Glenn Robinson III sprained his left ankle back in training camp and it has been deemed as a major injury.  He had surgery last month on it and the dynamic guard/forward is expected to be out for the next three months.

Source(s): Jonathan Feigen and Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle and the Indiana Pacers

4.) Matchups to Watch:

  1. Eric Gordon vs. Darren Collison
  2. Clint Capela vs. Demontas Sabonis/Myles Turner
  3. James Harden vs. Victor Oladipo

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5.) Prediction:

115-107 in a Houston 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. CST.

The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet Southwest and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM, Sirius/XM/SiriusXM Internet 890 and La Ranchera 101.7 FM (KNTE) & 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.

Go Rockets.