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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rockets Lose to Pacers in Preseason

Posted: October 4, 2018 -- 11:59 pm CDT.

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets lost to the Indiana Pacers 110-100 Thursday night in the second preseason game of the Rockets' preseason.

James Harden scored a team-high 17 points for the Rockets. Carmelo Anthony scored 16 points. Michael Carter-Williams scored 15 points off the bench. James Ennis III and Eric Gordon each scored 12 points.

Victor Oladipo had a game-high 24 points in 25 minutes of play tonight for the Pacers.

The Rockets were without Clint Capela (right foot soreness); Gerald Green (illness); Brandon Knight (left knee injury); P.J. Tucker (sore back); and Nenê (right calf tightness).

The Rockets lost despite holding the Pacers to 44.0% shooting from the floor. Last season, Houston was 28-2 when its opponent shot below 45.0%.

Indiana led 54-48 at halftime and stretched the margin to 16 points (68-52) with 9:32 left in the third quarter. During the next 6 minutes and 50 seconds, Houston went on a 26-5 run to lead by 5 points.

"We lost our intensity," said Mike D'Antoni, Rockets Head Coach after the game. "Lot of good things. Lot of bad things. Things to work on."

The Rockets lost despite holding the Pacers to 44.0% shooting from the floor. Last season, Houston was 28-2 when its opponent shot below 45.0%.

Carmelo Anthony had 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting tonight, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He is shooting 58.3% from behind-the-arc this preseason.

During last week's Media Day, Melo mentioned (to his chagrin) "I don't want to say this; but, I'm sure there's gonna be times where Mike is gonna throw me at the 5..."

Tonight was the first time. When the Rockets went to a small lineup, Melo spent some time at the center spot.

"He (Coach D’Antoni) yelled at me out there and said ‘you’re the five now’ in the middle of the game," Carmelo said after the game. "That’s just how it is, especially the personnel we have. You just never know what kind of lineup is going to be out there at any point in time."

Regarding Melo at the 5 (center spot), Coach D'Antoni said: "You can imagine with PJ out there, Melo, three other littles. Yea, that's not bad..."

James Harden had a team-high 17 points with a game-high 10 assists.

"Obviously Melo (Carmelo Anthony) played well tonight, and Marquese (Chriss) got some minutes as a starting big," Harden replied in the locker room. "But you got our rooks, like Gary Clark came in and played well, Mike (Michael Carter-Williams) played really well. Guys are going to get really comfortable and know what we are trying to do, what’s our game plan and go out there and execute. But for the most part I think we did a pretty good job."

Michael Carter-Williams had 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal off the bench. Since entering the league in 2013-14, he is one of 10 players with at least 90 games played to have averaged at least 11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.0 apg and 1.40 spg. Carter-Williams is averaging 17.0 ppg on 66.7% shooting this preseason.

"I felt pretty good," Carter-Williams said. "I felt that we could’ve played better as a whole. We definitely need to work on a few things, but you know it’s early. We know what we need to fix. We need to communicate a little bit better out there, but overall I think we are going in the right direction."

The Rockets next game is Sunday, October 7, against the Spurs, in San Antonio. Tip is set for 3 p.m.

CLICK HERE for The HRR's Rockets' write-ups.

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