Pacers hang on to beat Rockets

Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:34pm EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - The odd adventure that has been the Indiana Pacers' 2015-2016 season was on display in all of its glory -- or inconsistency -- on Sunday night in Bankers Life Fieldhouse against the equally up-and-down Houston Rockets.

Indiana (39-34), which lost on the road to 21-win Brooklyn on Saturday night, led Houston (36-38) by 16 points in the third quarter, trailed by five in the fourth quarter and somehow found a method to scratch out a 104-101 victory.

Paul George had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Monta Ellis added 23 points and Ian Mahinmi had 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Pacers held on.

Houston's Jason Terry had a chance to force overtime, but his 3-point attempt from the right wing was short as time expired.

"This was exactly the kind of game we expected," said Mahinmi, whose 19 points tied his career high. "We felt really bad about the loss Saturday (at Brooklyn), and we knew we had to have this one tonight. A big thing right now is that we are still learning to play with each other, and we are getting better."

Mahinmi and Ellis each made one of two free throws in the final 11.7 seconds to help the Pacers hold onto the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Indiana is a half-game ahead of the eighth-place Detroit Pistons, who were idle Sunday.

"After Houston came back and made it a game, we finally did a good job of taking control again at the end," George said.

James Harden poured in 34 points to lead the Rockets (36-38). Trevor Ariza had 14 points, and Dwight Howard added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Houston remains a half-game ahead of Dallas for eighth place in the Western Conference playoff race after the Mavericks also lost Sunday.   Continued...

Mar 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) holds the ball while Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) defends in the first half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports