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News » Defense takes a step backward Rockets offer little resistance as Pacers romp


Defense takes a step backward Rockets offer little resistance as Pacers romp


Defense takes a step backward Rockets offer little resistance as Pacers romp PHOTO GALLERY: See pictures from Friday's game against Indiana. chron.com/sports

INDIANAPOLIS - With the Rockets stumbling their way to within 17 points, Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien thought he might like to see a layup. It had been nearly a minute since the last one.

"Run," he shouted at Earl Watson. "Run to a layup."

So Watson made his way through the obliging Rockets defense and put in his layup.

Moments later, with 38 seconds left in the half, O'Brien thought it might be nice to squeeze in two more field goals, and he ordered Watson to give him "two-for-one." So Watson stopped 17 feet from the basket and put in his open jumper, then passed to Luther Head for a 3-pointer, put in as Brian Cook arrived only in time to foul him.

Though the Pacers' ability to do whatever they wished had been obvious to anyone among the 10,761 in Conseco Fieldhouse who bothered to watch Friday, O'Brien made it easy to hear, too. With little opposition, the Pacers led by as much as 29 and then settled for a 119-104 rout that rapidly erased much of the encouraging signs found in Toronto the night before.

"We didn't ? guard them at all," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "The guys that played in the fourth quarter busted their tails and got it to 12, but it was a very poor game. Everything we did pretty good last night, we went backwards."

Adelman used the game to spread the minutes around the roster. But even when most of the regulars were on the court, the Rockets did little to interfere with anything the Pacers had in mind.

Whatever they wanted

It was not the first time. The Pacers' and Bucks' pick-and-rolls tore through the Rockets to begin and end the week. Thursday, the Raptors scored nearly as easily until Chuck Hayes came off the bench to solidify the frontcourt defense.

"This is the third game in a row we allowed 60 points in the first half, which is not a recipe for success in this league," Shane Battier said. "We have to find ways to slow teams down. We're trying to play faster, so there's going to be more possessions in a game. But we have to find ways to still keep the defensive principles that made us successful the last few years."

Their defense made only a brief appearance on the trip. Against the Raptors, Hayes came off the bench and shut out Chris Bosh long enough to remind of the days when the Rockets did defend.

A night later, the Pacers rolled until the final five minutes. Adelman had wanted to use the game to give Brian Cook and Joey Dorsey playing time.

Hit by foul trouble

But Dorsey fouled out in 17 minutes, Cook in 20. By the time both were on the bench, the Pacers had 100 points early in the fourth.

"It's very much a concern," Adelman said. "We're getting beat off the dribble. Our big people did not have the awareness what the other team is doing. We're making calls too late.."

The Rockets improved in the fourth quarter, with Carl Landry scoring 13 of his 14 points. Pops Mensah-Bonsu picked up playing time, finishing with nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Romel Beck got his first playing time of the preseason, scoring nine points. Will Conroy had 14.

But by the fourth quarter, O'Brien was clearing his bench, too. That didn't stop the Pacers from pushing their lead to almost 30. The Rockets never stopped them, either.

jonathan.feigen@chron.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 20, 2009

 

 
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