On the surface, Friday's nationally televised matchup between the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers should have been a close game. It wasn't, as the Pacers annihilated Houston 114-81.
But if you look at the statistics, the Pacers were ideally suited to shut down the Rockets' third-ranked offense. According to Basketball Reference, the Rockets get most of their offense from three-pointers and free throws (both first in the league).
Those tendencies play right into Indiana's strengths. The Pacers allow the fewest three-point attempts and the sixth-lowest three-point percentage, while ranking sixth in fewest free throws per field-goal attempts.
True to form, Houston shot only 4-of-22 from beyond the arc in the loss.
Friday also marked Danny Granger's first game of the season. He finished with five points, two rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in 22 minutes of action. He was just 1-of-7 from the floor and 1-of-4 from three, and he turned the ball over five times. But after missing so much time, just playing is a positive.
If defense wins championships, then only one championship contender took the court in Indy on Friday.