Sat, 19 Sep 2020

McDermott helps Pacers hold off Rockets

Field Level Media
13 Aug 2020, 09:05 GMT+10

Doug McDermott scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday afternoon as the Indiana Pacers grabbed a double-digit lead and then held off a late rampage by James Harden to beat the Houston Rockets 108-104 in the NBA bubble near Orlando.

By virtue of a win in its second-to-last regular-season game, Indiana (44-28) clinched the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round playoff matchup with the fourth-seeded Miami Heat.

The Pacers and Heat meet in the regular-season finale on Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, despite the loss, Houston (44-27) remained in the mix for the matchup of fourth and fifth seeds in the West. The Rockets close out the regular season Friday against Philadelphia.

After Houston, riding five early 3-pointers, scored 20 of the game's first 25 points, the matchup was tightly contested until the Pacers gradually pulled away in the fourth quarter.

But after a McDermott layup increased the Indiana lead to 104-90 with 5:05 to go, Harden put on a one-man show that almost brought Houston all the way back. He had a pair of 3-pointers among 11 points in a 14-2 flurry that gave Houston a chance at 106-104 with 27.6 seconds left.

But Indiana's Justin Holiday snatched the rebound on a missed 3-pointer by teammate Victor Oladipo and was fouled with 6.5 seconds remaining, denying Houston a potential go-ahead opportunity. Holiday dropped in a pair of free throws to ice the win, Indiana's fifth in seven games since the restart.

Harden finished with a game-high 45 points to go with a career-high-tying 17 rebounds. He missed a triple-double by one assist.

Holiday and Myles Turner paced the Pacers with 18 points apiece. Edmond Sumner chipped in with a season-high 17 points, while Oladipo joined McDermott with 16.

Turner completed a double-double with a team-high 12 rebounds for Indiana, which rested its top scorer, T.J. Warren.

Harden's rebound total matched his effort against Detroit in January 2016.

Jeff Green added 14 points, Eric Gordon 13 and Robert Covington 11 for the Rockets, who rested Russell Westbrook and fell to 4-3 in the bubble.

--Field Level Media

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