Preview: Pacers at Rockets

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[November 29, 2017]  Gracenote

The Indiana Pacers are winners of six of their last seven games, with the only loss in that span coming against the Eastern Conference-best Boston Celtics. The Pacers will get another chance to prove themselves against a conference leader when they face the best in the West by visiting the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Indiana bounced back from its 108-98 setback against Boston on Saturday by knocking off the Orlando Magic 121-109 on Monday behind 26 points from leading scorer Victor Oladipo, who sat out the loss to the Celtics with a knee injury. "It felt pretty good to be out there playing again," Oladipo told reporters. "It was tough watching the last game." The Rockets have a guard who can score as well in James Harden, who put up 20 points in the first quarter on Monday against New York and finished with 37 as Houston won its fifth straight and 11th in the last 12 contests. Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring at an average of 31.7 points, finished two assists shy of a triple-double on Monday and is averaging 34.4 points during the five-game winning streak.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Indiana, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston)

ABOUT THE PACERS (12-9): Oladipo hit his first 11 shots on Monday and finished 11-of-14 from the floor to go with six rebounds, five assists, four blocks and two steals. "He shot the ball with a great deal of confidence," Indiana coach Nate McMillan told reporters. "Those shots he was taking - I know I yelled one time, 'Vic, what are you doing?' And the ball, it hit all bottom. When a guy is playing with that type of confidence, we try to put the ball in his hands and let him make plays." The 25-year-old guard is averaging 23 points on 47.4 percent shooting, including 46.2 percent from beyond the arc.

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ABOUT THE ROCKETS (16-4): Harden hit his first five 3-point attempts and finished 8-of-13 from beyond the arc on Monday while Houston got a rare look at a zone defense and hoisted up 50 3-point attempts, connecting on 20. The Rockets lead the NBA with an average of 44.6 3-point attempts and are connecting at a 36.1 percent clip. Houston continues to win despite one of their most prolific shooters going through a terrible slump from beyond the arc, as Eric Gordon is just 10-of-52 over his last six games.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Pacers SF Lance Stephenson is 19-of-29 from the field over the last three games.

2. Rockets PG Chris Paul is 3-of-19 from the floor over the last two games.

3. Houston snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with a 118-95 win at Indiana on Nov. 12 behind 26 points and 15 assists from Harden.

PREDICTION: Rockets 121, Pacers 117

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