INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers needed Malcolm Brogdon to play a bigger role when T.J. Warren injured his foot.
Brogdon has thrived in it.
He scored 35 points, his second career high in three games, and made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:22 left to lead the Indiana Pacers past the Houston Rockets 114-107 on Wednesday night.
“I think he’s comfortable with the offense, comfortable with coach (Nate Bjorkgren), he knows where to get his shots and when to be aggressive,” two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo said. “He’s playing great for us right now. We’re going to need him to do that all year.”
Brogdon has logged more than 40 minutes in each of the past three games, and on Wednesday he even played the leading role on defense against the usually high-scoring James Harden.
Harden finished with 15 points, his second straight sub-20-point performance as the Pacers won their second straight and beat Houston at home for the first time since January 2017.
“My team trusts me with the ball, my coaches trust me with the ball,” Brogdon said. “These shots were already made this summer, these shots were already made in preseason.”
But the Pacers won this one with defense, too.
After Harden scored on a late layup to make it 107-106, Brogdon answered with the go-ahead 3, Domantas Sabonis scored on a putback to extend the margin to four and Brogdon sealed the victory with two free throws with 29.9 seconds to go.
Indiana scored the final eight points.
Justin Holiday had a season-high 20 points for Indiana, while John Wall scored a season-best 28 points in his fourth game with the Rockets. Harden also had 12 assists for Houston — not enough to avoid a second straight loss.
“They were really good at driving the ball into the paint and that was one of the things for us this game, was to protect the paint,” coach Stephen Silas said. “They had 60 points in the paint, so that tells you how well we did. But the 8-0 run, we had a turnover in there. We’ve just got to be better.”
Rockets: David Nwaba had a season-high 15 points. … Houston was 8 of 30 on 3s and had 16 turnovers. … Houston is 1-2 when Harden and Wall are in the lineup together. … The Rockets are 1-4 when allowing 110 or more points and 0-3 on the road this season. … F Christian Wood did not play. … Houston has had at least two players score 20 or more points in all six games.
Pacers: Holiday’s first 3-pointer of the game late in the first quarter was his 133rd off the bench for Indiana. That broke a tie with Sam Perkins for No. 7 in the franchise’s NBA history. Holiday finished with three 3s. … Myles Turner had eight blocks, matching his career best for the second time this season. … Sabonis had 22 points and 12 rebounds, his eighth straight double-double this season. … Doug McDermott left in the second half with a sprained left ankle and did not return. He scored six points.
DeMarcus Cousins got off to a strong start, scoring nine points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the first half. The second half wasn’t nearly as impressive. Cousins was shut down over the final two quarters, going 2 of 9 from the field and finishing with 14 points and four blocks.
Silas appreciated the effort.
“I thought he was great,” Silas said. “He started the game off really good and really rebounded the ball well and attacked the rim.”
Rockets: Begin a three-game homestand Friday when Orlando comes to town.
Pacers: Will try to win their third straight when Phoenix visits Saturday.
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