The last time Indiana and Houston met up, the Pacers dismantled the Rockets by 33 points. This time around, it was Houston's turn; the Rockets took control in the first quarter and never looked back, holding off the Pacers en route to a 112-86 decision.
Houston blew the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Indiana, 38-16, in the period. James Harden led the way for Houston with 28 points, 16 of those coming in the third. Dwight Howard was next in line with 15 points. The Rockets hit 13 long balls in all and nine different Rockets connected on those shots.
Houston's domination began in the first quarter as the team took a 16-point lead. The Pacers struggled to find points in the half court and the Rockets flew out in transition on the other end. The Rockets led by 15 with 2:26 to play in the first half, but Indiana sprouted and cut that lead to seven, 50-43, before halftime.
Eventually, the Pacers cut that lead to three points, but Houston exploded and increased its lead to 23 points in the third quarter after these two baskets from Harden:
oh hey James Harden https://t.co/vIq1WMpPw9— Tyler Lashbrook (@lashy) March 8, 2014
oh alright James Harden https://t.co/YmP0h4L9Oo— Tyler Lashbrook (@lashy) March 8, 2014
After that, there was a mini-skirmish between Harden and Indiana's Evan Turner. The two were assessed double technical fouls after they got in each other's face and Turner shoved Harden. Moments later, Harden hit another three pointer, extending the Rockets lead to 28 points.
Indiana pulled itself together in the fourth quarter, but it could barely dent Houston's lead.