The Rockets looked done multiple times against the Pacers Sunday at Toyota Center. They trailed by 13 points after three quarters, and managed to shave just one point off that deficit more than halfway through the fourth quarter.
Following a timeout they started getting stops and making shots, and with 17 seconds left, Trevor Ariza drained a 3-pointer to cap a 17-5 run that tied the game. The Rockets still had to dodge a bullet to get the game to overtime and did so successfully when Monta Ellis missed a 20-footer at the buzzer, but even the extra period looked bleak.
Houston turned it over on it’s first two possessions, while Indiana scored on its first three. Dwight Howard split a pair of free throws to make it a five point with less than three minutes to play. Paul George missed a 13-footer which was followed by a Patrick Beverly 3-pointer. After Ellis threw the ball out of bounds, James Harden found Dwight Howard for a layup to tie the game with 1:47 left. From there, it was a back-and-forth affair.
Ellis answered Howard’s layup with one of his own to give the Pacers the lead. Then Ariza gave the Rockets their first lead since late in the second quarter with his fifth trey of the night. After a Pacers timeout, Ellis hit a floater to make it 103-102, but Corey Brewer’s corner 3 with 40.9 seconds left was the final time the lead changed hands. Ellis missed a six footer with 7.9 seconds left that would’ve tied the game.
Ariza was the game’s high scorer with 24 points. He hit 5-of-9 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc, while holding Paul George to 7-of-17 shooting.
Harden finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists for the Rockets who improve to 19-19 on the season.
Howard was a game-time decision due to back stiffness, but he played 43 minutes and finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds.
Houston shot 52 percent in the first quarter in jumping out to a 28-24 lead. They led for the game’s first 22:23, but didn’t lead again until Ariza’s triple in overtime.
The Rockets combined for just 36 points in the second and third quarter to go along with 12 turnovers. They scored 43 points with just four turnovers in the fourth quarter and overtime.