Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/20

Game 1: Sunday, November 20th
Rockets74Final
Pacers85
Game 2: Wednesday, March 8th
Pacers99Final
Rockets103

Rockets 74

(3-7, 2-4 away)

Pacers 85

(6-3, 4-1 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:00 PM ET, November 20, 2005

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 19 18 15 2274
IND 15 23 20 2785

Top Performers

Hou: Y. Ming 24 Pts, 13 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk

Ind: M. World Peace 24 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl

Artest leads Pacers past McGrady-less Rockets

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers knew what to do when they realized Tracy McGrady wasn't playing -- make Yao Ming work extra hard for his points.

McGrady, Houston's leading scorer, sat out with a strained back. Yao, the team's No. 2 option, led the Rockets with 24 points and 13 rebounds, but was 8-for-21 from the field in Indiana's 85-74 victory Sunday night.

Indiana centers Scot Pollard and David Harrison combined for four points, but they made an impact by making the 7-foot-6 Yao struggle. Ten of Yao's points came in the fourth quarter with the game already out of reach. He was 3-for-14 from the field before that.

"Pollard and Harrison did a fine job," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "David got a couple of fouls early, but he adjusted to the situation and worked to make it hard on him. Scot's the specialist. He's a real pro at dealing with guys like Yao and Shaq."

Ron Artest scored nine of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to spark the offense. The Pacers (6-3) won their second in a row heading into their Thanksgiving Night showdown with Cleveland.

The short-handed Rockets (3-7) lost their third in a row and are 0-4 in games McGrady has missed.

"We can play without him, but it's tough," Yao said.

The Pacers say Houston is a different team without McGrady, but add that they respect coach Jeff Van Gundy.

"Tracy is their best player, but we never talk about him not playing," said Jermaine O'Neal, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds. "Fortunately for us, he didn't play, but they still came out with that Van Gundy effort."

Indiana led 38-37 at halftime before Stephen Jackson scored eight points in the third quarter to give the Pacers a 58-52 lead heading into the fourth.

The Pacers started the final quarter on a 14-4 run that gave them a 72-56 lead and forced a Houston timeout with 8:09 left. Sarunas Jasikevicius and Artest each scored five points during the run.

Artest made five of 16 shots from the field in the first three quarters but went 4-for-4 in the fourth.

"I think Ron is playing really well," Carlisle said. "He got off to a slow start offensively tonight, but let the game come to him when we needed it."

Jackson scored 17 points and made three of seven 3-pointers for the Pacers.

Derek Anderson scored 13 points, David Wesley 12 and Juwan Howard 11 for Houston.

Indiana allowed its lowest point total of the season. The Pacers held Houston to 41 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers.

"That was one of our better sustained defensive efforts," Carlisle said. "That's one we've got to keep building on."

Game notes


Houston's Luther Head had seven points and two assists in his first career start. The rookie from Illinois played 34 minutes ... Houston guard Rafer Alston sat out for the second straight game with a right lower leg bruise ... Jasikevicius missed a free throw for the first time this season. He missed the first of two shots in the third quarter. He had made 22 straight heading into the game. Phoenix's Steve Nash was the only other player in the league to enter Sunday's action perfect from the line ... O'Neal notched his fourth double-double of the season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
HOU
IND
Points 74 85
FGM-FGA 29-71 (.408) 30-72 (.417)
3PM-3PA 4-11 (.364) 5-22 (.227)
FTM-FTA 12-13 (.923) 20-32 (.625)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-33 12-43
Assists 11 18
Turnovers 19 14
Steals 4 9
Blocks 4 3
Fast Break Points 3 2
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 19 (0/0)
Largest Lead 8 21

Top Performers

Houston
Indiana
Yao Ming Ming
Points: 24
Reb: 13
Ast: 1
Stl: 1
Blk: 4
Metta World Peace World Peace
Points: 24
Reb: 5
Ast: 2
Stl: 3
Blk: 0