HOUSTON (AP) — After a tough loss to San Antonio on Saturday night, the Indiana Pacers were determined to end their short trip to the Lone Star state with a win.
They barely did it, escaping Houston with a 104-102 victory over the Rockets in overtime on Sunday night.
“We needed this win, and now we get to go home,” said Pacers forward Danny Granger, who scored 32 points.
The win keeps Indiana in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and drops Houston to eighth in the West.
The Pacers led by one when Paul George turned the ball over. Courtney Lee grabbed it and looked to have tied the ball up for Houston, but he stumbled trying to wrestle it away from the Pacers and was called for traveling.
“We were tangled up for about 10 seconds and then I was able to rip it away,” Lee said. “I was trying to call a timeout, but my feet didn’t stop moving, I guess, and that’s all they saw.”
Granger made two free throws with 15.7 seconds left in overtime before Chandler Parsons made a layup on the other end to again cut the lead to 1. Darren Collison made the first of two free throws with 10.5 seconds left and Granger blocked a shot by Parsons at the buzzer to give Indiana the victory.
The Pacers only outrebounded Houston by one in regulation, but dominated the boards in overtime, getting nine while Houston had none. They finished with 54 — the most any team has had against the Rockets this season.
“They did a good job of getting rebounds and second chance points in the first half,” said Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, who grabbed four in overtime. “In overtime we made a concerted emphasis to get rebounds and we were fortunate that we got them.”
Goran Dragic led the Rockets with 22 points and Lee added 20.
The Pacers overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime and controlled the early part of the extra period.
A three-point play by George followed by a 3-pointer from Granger gave Indiana a 101-95 lead with 2 minutes left in overtime. But Houston scored five points in 7 seconds to cut the lead to 101-100 with 39 seconds remaining. Dragic hit a 3-pointer before Parsons got a steal and a layup.
The Pacers could have won it in regulation, but Collison missed two of four free throws in the last 20 seconds to give Houston a chance.
Granger gave the Pacers a 91-89 lead with 38 seconds left and Collison made one of two free throws a few seconds later to extend the lead.
Dragic got Houston within 92-91 with a jump shot with 16 seconds left before Collison again made one of two free throws. Dragic made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to tie it again.
Indiana’s David West, who had 12 points, missed a shot at the buzzer to send it to overtime.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel took advantage of Granger being guarded by Parsons, who is a rookie.
“It was a good matchup,” Vogel said. “He’s obviously a tough guard for Chandler Parsons, who is a good defender, but obviously he’s a little bit green and Danny was able to get going, especially in the overtime period.”
Hibbert, who has been dealing with a sore lower back, started but spent several minutes early in the second quarter on a stationary bike with a wrap on his back. He finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and a season-high five blocks in about 35 minutes.
Houston’s Marcus Camby continues to be effective despite playing with an injured left wrist. He had 10 points, nine rebounds, four steals and four blocked shots with the wrist heavily taped in his second straight start.
He was disappointed in Houston’s effort early in overtime.
“I think they outhustled us, especially in the start of that overtime,” he said. “They got like three or four possessions before they finally got the bucket. We had opportunities to win, we just didn’t do a good job of closing out this game.”
The Pacers went on a 10-0 run to erase a nine-point deficit and take an 81-80 lead with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Granger hit consecutive 3-pointers to cap that run and Luis Scola missed three straight shots, including a layup, to help keep Houston scoreless in that span.
Parsons finished with 14 points and Scola had 13 for Houston.
Houston used a 7-0 run, with five points from Parsons, to extend a one-point lead to 65-57 with just under 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Camby blocked a layup by Hibbert and Collison had a turnover to keep the Pacers scoreless in that stretch.
Indiana cut the lead to 67-63 after outscoring Houston 6-2, with four points from Lou Amundson, in the next 2 1/2 minutes. But the Rockets ended the quarter with another run, this one 6-0, to take a 73-63 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Rockets trailed by nine early in the second quarter before using a 19-12 run to close the gap to 44-42 at halftime. Earl Boykins started that run with a 3-pointer and Samuel Dalembert had a pair of dunks in that span.
Indiana was up 18-9 early after a 3-pointer by Granger. Houston got going after that and outscored the Pacers 14-9 the rest of the quarter to cut the lead to 27-23 after one.
NOTES: Houston’s Kyle Lowry has missed 13 games in a row because of a bacterial infection and teammate Kevin Martin has been out 11 straight with a sprained right shoulder. … The Pacers are 11-5 against Western Conference teams this season. … Lee has scored in double figures in a season high-tying five straight games. … Three of Houston’s last four home games have gone to overtime.