Not many thought the Indiana Pacers would have an Eastern Conference top-five record after 14 games, but that’s where the team stands after beating the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
The Pacers clinched their first away win against a Western Conference team this season with their win in Houston. They had to get off to a slow start and overcome numerous hurdles to claim victory, but they found extra gear en route to a 99-91 win.
Early on, blue and gold looked miserable. After scoring the first two points of the game, the Pacers were down 19-4 in the first quarter, and that 15-point lead lasted through the end of the frame. Indiana only scored ten points in the first quarter.
“It sure got off to a rocky start,” said Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle. “But it’s a long game and the boys stuck together.”
At the start of the second quarter, the Rockets extended their lead to 20. The Pacers were frustrated and sluggish — they seemed disjointed. Just over six minutes into the game, head coach Rick Carlisle was kicked out for yelling at an official when his team was 12 behind. It definitely wasn’t the start Indiana was preparing.
Assistant coach Llyd Pierce led the team with the head coach ejected. And like Carlisle said, the team stuck together. At halftime, the Pacers were only five behind. They were in the lead by the end of the third quarter. Despite an ugly start, the Pacers never gave up.
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Houston took a 75-74 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Pacers dominated the rest of the way, giving up just 17 points in the last ten minutes. Point guard Tyrese Haliburton had ten points in the final frame to lead his team to victory.
“Lloyd did a great job helping these guys finish the game,” Carlisle said the next day.
Haliburton injured his ankle just over 30 seconds from the end of the game, but that didn’t cause him to miss the next night’s Pacers game against the Magic.
Indiana has won three games in a row and is 5-1 in November. The Pacers are rolling right now, and their comeback win in Houston is just another example.
The Indiana Pacers play next on Saturday night when they play the Orlando Magic at home. They’ll be trying to win their ninth game of the season, which cost them 21 tries in the 2021-22 NBA season.
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