Rockets fizzle to sixth consecutive loss


TAIPEI–The Houston Rockets suffered their sixth straight loss Friday, falling to the Indiana Pacers 105-95 in a battle of the Rockets’ top-ranked offense against the Pacers’ top-ranked defense.

The Pacers shot 46 percent from the field while holding the Rockets to 41 percent shooting and forcing them into 18 turnovers. Indiana led most of the game, often holding a double-digit lead.

Taiwanese-American guard Jeremy Lin had 10 points for Houston on 4-for-7 shooting, including two three-pointers, and he also contributed five rebounds and three assists.

Center Omer Asik led the Rockets with 22 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Guard James Harden had 17 points on 5-19 shooting.

Paul George led the Pacers to victory with 31 points, including seven three-pointers.

The Rockets’ loss dropped them to 21-20 for the season, ninth best in the Western Conference, and Lin said the team’s recent penchant to fall behind, as happened against the Pacers, had proved costly.

“When you’re down that much, everything has to go your way and you can’t really make too many mistakes,” Lin was quoted as saying by the Houston Chronicle.

“When we’re not doing a good job getting the stops and rebounds, it’s really hard to create that tempo. For us, I think we need to get back to the basics. That’s defense and rebounding. That fuels everything we do. When we don’t have that, we really don’t win any games.”

In a game of momentum swings, the Pacers led by as many as 16 points early in the second quarter before the Rockets rallied and pulled to within three on a Harden jumper with 1:18 left in the half.

Houston kept the game close for most of third quarter until the Pacers went on a 10-2 run to push their lead back to 16 points.

Down 15 with five minutes left in the game, the Rockets went on a 12-4 run to pull within 100-93 with 1:46 left, but an 18-foot jumper by the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert and a 3-point miss by Harden ended any attempt at a comeback.

The Rockets next face the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Saturday.