Pacers 133, Rockets 102
Josh McRoberts wants to be considered an integral part of the Indiana Pacers' future.
Sunday's performance against the Houston Rockets was a good start.
McRoberts had a career-high 18 points and tied a career high with 12 rebounds, helping the Pacers to a 133-102 victory over the Rockets for their ninth home win in 10 games. He played a season-high 33 minutes off the bench, adding two steals, a block and an assist.
``I was just glad to be out there, trying to help the team any way I could,'' said McRoberts, who shot 8 of 9 from the field and scored all his points in the second half. ``For guys like me, who don't get a bunch of opportunities, you got to make the most of any time you're on the floor, whether it's a blowout win, blowout loss, it doesn't matter.''
McRoberts, a 6-foot-10 forward and third-year pro out of Duke, has found it hard to break into the Pacers' regular rotation. Entering the night, he averaged less than 12 minutes in the 36 games he appeared in. He was averaging 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds.
``He's getting some time and showing he can really play,'' said Pacers guard Mike Dunleavy, who added 15 points. ``He's got a chance to improve a lot. He's a nice piece for this team.''
Roy Hibbert had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Danny Granger scored 18 for the Pacers, who have won seven of nine overall to improve to 29-48. They had a season-high point total.
``It's a lot of fun when you're hitting on all cylinders,'' McRoberts said. ``It feels good when you're out there having fun and everything is going your way.''
Not much went Houston's way. Chase Budinger had 17 points and Kyle Lowry scored 16 for the Rockets (38-38), who dropped their fourth straight to Indiana.
``It was just embarrassing, an embarrassing loss,'' Houston coach Rick Adelman said. ``Once they got it going, we couldn't do anything to stop it.''
The Rockets scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 101-79, but Dahntay Jones' dunk off a nice pass from Hibbert stopped their momentum. After a Houston basket, Hibbert's jumper and McRoberts' layup pushed the advantage to 107-83.
``Really a surprising game from the standpoint of how much we won by,'' Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. ``I thought we got good play from everybody.''
The Pacers extended an eight-point lead in the first quarter to 72-56 on Troy Murphy's 3-pointer late in the second. Indiana shot 64 percent from the field in the opening half and hit 8 of 14 from beyond the arc.
Despite shooting 39 percent in the third quarter, the Pacers extended their lead to 101-75 on Hibbert's two free throws to end the period. Houston didn't get closer than 13 points in the second half.
``We had no intensity in this game,'' Budinger said. ``I couldn't explain what it was.''
NOTES: The Pacers had their eight-game home winning streak snapped against Miami on Friday. ... Pacers G T.J. Ford (left groin) and F Tyler Hansbrough (ear infection) did not play. ... Rockets G Kevin Martin started after missing the previous five games with a left shoulder sprain. He finished with three points in 25 minutes. ... Dunleavy, Jones and McRoberts played at Duke. Houston's Shane Battier also played for the Blue Devils. Duke will face hometown favorite Butler in Monday's NCAA final at nearby Lucas Oil Stadium. Dunleavy, Jones, McRoberts and Battier all said they will be at the game. ``I think Duke is going to run away with it,'' Dunleavy said. ``Butler had a great year, but I think it's just the end of the road for them.'' ... Some fans at Sunday's game wore Duke and Butler shirts. ... Comedian and radio host Dennis Miller sat courtside.