The Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers may not have an intense, long-term rivalry but their Wednesday night meeting had the combination of stylistic differences and playoff implications that make late-season NBA action so captivating.
Led by James Harden, the Rockets walked onto their home floor as one of the league's best offenses. They were scoring a league-high 106.4 points per game and were riding high off a three-game winning streak, including a triumph over San Antonio on Sunday.
The win brought the Rockets to a 39-31 record and kept them tied in the loss column with Golden State for sixth place in the Western Conference—a critical distinction considering seventh place will likely face the Thunder in the opening round.
Indiana also came in jockeying for playoff positioning, only at a much higher level. The Pacers were one game behind the Knicks for second place in the Eastern Conference, which is obviously vital for home-court advantage in the postseason.
Would Indiana's stifling defense be able to stop Houston's top-notch offense to keep pace with New York? Let's take a look at the highlights and find out.