Pacers 96, Rockets 87
HOUSTON (AP) _ Al Harrington scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Indiana Pacers rallied for a 96-87 victory Monday night that kept the Houston Rockets winless in five home games.
The Pacers trailed by 10 points late in the third quarter before coming back to beat the Rockets, who got 18 points and a season-high 24 rebounds from Charles Barkley.
The Rockets took a 45-40 halftime lead, then used a 14-5 run in the third quarter to take a 63-53 lead with 2:38 left in the period. Hakeem Olajuwon scored six points during the spurt.
The Pacers cut Houston’s lead on a pair of 3-pointers by Sam Perkins and a three-point play by Austin Croshere, but a jumper by Olajuwon and a driving layup by rookie Steve Francis kept the Rockets ahead 67-62 at the end of the third period.
But Indiana then took control with a 17-4 run. Harrington put the Pacers ahead for good, 72-71, by hitting two free throws following a flagrant foul by Houston’s Carlos Rogers.
Houston hit only 8 of 21 shots in the fourth quarter, and went 5:17 without scoring a point.
The Rockets closed to 79-77 with a 6-0 run that included two free throws by Barkley, a basket by Olajuwon and a tip-in by Barkley.
But Reggie Miller and Harrington each made two free throws, and Mark Jackson hit a 3-pointer to give the Pacers an 86-79 lead with 1:46 remaining.
Olajuwon had 18 points for the Rockets, while Francis had 18 points and 12 assists.
Harrington and Miller each scored 17 points for Indiana. Dale Davis added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Notes: The Rockets have a 22-6 record against the Pacers in Compaq Center. ... Barkley has five double-doubles this season and Olajuwon has four. ... Francis entered the game leading the Rockets in scoring (17.3), assists (5.4) and turnovers (3.9). ... The Pacers’ 5-2 record is their best start ever. They’ve started 4-2 five times.