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Haliburton has career-high 19 assists in Pacers’ OT win

Houston Rockets' Jae'Sean Tate (8) goes to the basket against Indiana Pacers' Tyrese Haliburton (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tyrese Haliburton had 28 points and a career-high 19 assists, Buddy Hield hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime and the Indiana Pacers beat the Houston Rockets 134-125 on Thursday night.

Hield broke a 117-all tie with his fifth 3-pointer and Haliburton scored 12 points after that as the Pacers outscored the Rockets 19-10 in overtime.

“It ain’t pressure,” Haliburton said. “It’s just basketball. It’s understanding guys expect me to make plays. That’s what I’m here for. … This is part of my maturation as an NBA player and as a point guard in this organization. I love that. I love that expectation for me.”

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle spoke of his All-Star point guard’s growing affinity for making plays late.

“He took over the game in overtime,” Carlisle said. “He certainly has demonstrated that is what he’s about. He loves those moments, very much the way (Hall of Famer) Reggie Miller loved those moments.”

The Pacers have won seven consecutive games against the Rockets, who have the NBA’s second-worst record at 15-51.

“I will blame Buddy for not having 20 (assists),” Haliburton said with a smile, referring to Hield’s missed shot.

The Rockets trailed for all of three quarters before rallying with a 15-2 run to take a 110-108 lead with 4:10 remaining. Houston rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. made a 3-pointer with four seconds left to force overtime.

“Smith hit a hellacious shot to put them in overtime,” Carlisle said, “and we had to come up big.”

Indiana’s Myles Turner scored 21 points and blocked seven shots. Jordan Nwora added 18 points off the bench. Hield had 17.

Smith scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half and had 12 rebounds. Jalen Green had 24 points, and Kenyon Martin Jr. 23.

“It’s progress,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. “It’s getting down a bunch, fighting back, finding lineups that haven’t played together much. We’ve just got to figure out a way to shoot some more 3s. They made more than we shot. That’s hard to overcome.”

Indiana hit 14 of 24 shots, including 6 of 12 3-pointers, to take a 38-27 lead after the first quarter. Indiana led by 18 in the first half and had a 64-58 edge at halftime.

The Rockets had an 82-58 edge in points in the paint and outrebounded the Pacers 58-42.

“These guys with 17 games to go are fighting really hard, and that’s progress,” Silas said.


Rockets: Had 18 assists to the Pacers’ 34. … Dropped to 6-28 on the road.

Pacers: Rookie sixth-man Bennedict Mathurin rolled his right ankle and was carried to the locker room late in the first quarter. He did not return. … Play seven of next eight on the road.

Up next

Rockets: Host Chicago on Saturday night

Pacers: At Detroit on Saturday night.