Preview: Pacers at Rockets
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[February 27, 2017]
The Indiana Pacers failed to
swing a deal that would shake up the roster in front of the trade
deadline, and the malaise that overwhelmed the team prior to the
All-Star break seems to be continuing. The Pacers will try to avoid
an eighth loss in nine games when they visit the surging Houston
Rockets on Monday.
The Pacers snapped a six-game slide when they earned a 102-92 win
over Memphis coming out of the break but slumped right back down on
Saturday when star forward Paul George was ejected in the second
quarter and they went on to drop a 113-95 decision at Miami in the
first of a five-game road trip. “After Paul was ejected we still
kind of played good for a second," Indiana point guard Jeff Teague
told reporters. "Then we started missing some easy chippies,
including myself. I think everybody just started missing some easy
ones. We kind of pushed the panic button." The Rockets' chippies
tend to come from beyond the arc, and they buried 22 3-pointers on
58 attempts while racing past the Minnesota Timberwolves 142-130.
“We share the ball, and we found the open man,” Rockets forward Ryan
Anderson told reporters, according to ESPN.com. "We trust each other
on this team. We know that sometimes you want to give up a better
shot for an even better shot. We trust the next guy to make the
right play or make the shot. I think it’s going to go in every time
I pass it to somebody else. I hope they feel the same way. It’s good
basketball that way."
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Indiana
ABOUT THE PACERS (30-29): George was one of the biggest names to pop
up in trade rumors ahead of Thursday's deadline but ultimately
stayed with Indiana and is struggling to find his shooting stroke.
The 26-year-old is 6-of-20 from the floor in two games since the
break and is shooting 29.7 percent from the floor in the last five
contests, perhaps contributing to the frustration that led to his
ejection for directing an expletive at an official on Saturday.
“It’s just a soft league, man,” George told reporters. “It’s a soft
league. That easily could have been a warning. I felt I got chucked
in the neck. I responded. We had our moment and we moved on. It’s a
soft league, man.”
[to top of second column]
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (42-18): Houston pulled off a deal
before the deadline to bring in sixth man Lou Williams from the Los
Angeles Lakers, and he is fitting in quite nicely. The 30-year-old
is averaging 22 points off the bench in his first two games with his
new team and is a combined 9-of-18 from 3-point range. “You know
what? It’s not very complicated to play here,” Williams said,
according to ESPN.com. "We have a very open system. We have a lot of
guys that have very high basketball IQs, and they just go out there
and play. It is a very veteran group of guys, so it hasn’t been that
difficult for me."
1. The Rockets made at least 20 3-pointers in an NBA record eight
games this season.
2. Pacers SG and NBA dunk champion Glenn Robinson III is 7-of-11
from 3-point range over the last four games.
3. Indiana earned a 120-101 home win over the Rockets on Jan. 29 but
has not won at Houston since March 27, 2013.
PREDICTION: Rockets 125, Pacers 116
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