INDIANAPOLIS (AP) James Harden had 26 points and 15 assists and the Houston Rockets beat the Indiana Pacers 118-95 on Sunday night.
Indianapolis native Eric Gordon had 21 points for Houston, and Clint Capela had 20 points and 17 rebounds.
Houston led by 23 in the game that was hardly contested by Indiana.
The Rockets overwhelmed the Pacers from the start, jumping out to a 13-2 lead. Houston continued to pile it on early and often, outscoring the Pacers 24-9 during the first 6 minutes.
The lone bright spot of the game for the Pacers came in the second quarter when they managed to cut Houston’s lead to 39-34. Victor Oladipo had 28 points, and Domantas Sabonis added 17 off the bench for Indiana, and Lance Stephenson had eight points and 10 assists.
But the Rockets were simply too much for the Pacers. Houston went into halftime leading once again by double digits, 63-51 and put it away in the third quarter.
The Rockets scored 17 fast-break points, with several of those scoring opportunities coming off steals. Houston’s defense was also a high point for the Rockets with 10 of Indiana’s 13 turnovers coming by way of a steal. The Rockets outscored the Pacers 46-38 in the paint.
Harden has at least 20 points and seven assists in all 14 games this season and has seven double-doubles and two triple-doubles.
Pacers fans still relishing in the excitement of the addition of former Indiana Hoosier Oladipo were happy to welcome back Houston guard Eric Gordon. Gordon, also a former Hoosier, was met with a warm reception during player introductions. Gordon returned to the arena where he played for a state championship in high school. The defending NBA 3-point competition champion averaged 29 points his senior year at North Central High School (Indianapolis) and 20.9 points during his lone year at Indiana.
Rockets: The Rockets are 7-1 on the road, highlighted by their season opening win against Golden State. … Five of Houston’s next seven games will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, capped off with a rematch against Indiana on Nov. 29. … The Rockets have held opponents below 100 points six times this season and are 5-1 when doing so.
Pacers: Indiana has lost five of its last six games after a 5-3 start to the season. … Houston’s 35 points in the first quarter were the most allowed by Indiana this season. With 63 points at halftime, the Rockets also tied for the most first-half points allowed by the Pacers this season.
Rockets: Host Toronto on Tuesday night.
Pacers: At Memphis on Wednesday night.
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