Friday NBA odds: Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers

Struggling Houston is in danger of falling out of the Top 8 in the Western Conference playoff chase as the Rockets visit Indiana on Friday, with the Pacers opening as 5.5-point favorites on WagerWeb.com. Check our current lines.

Houston lost 105-100 at Dallas on Wednesday night. Elton Brand’s critical block of a James Harden layup led to a pair of tiebreaking free throws by O.J. Mayo, and Dirk Nowitzki hit several big shots and finished with 19 points to turn back a Jeremy Lin-led rally in the Mavericks’ victory.

The Mavericks got plenty of stops on Harden. The NBA’s fourth-leading scorer finished with 20 points but had just five midway through the third quarter and was held to 5-of-23 shooting. He barely extended his career-best streak of games with at least 20 points to 22. Lin was the bigger threat in the fourth quarter. With Houston trailing 93-82, he hit two free throws and consecutive driving layups to start a 15-4 surge that tied the score at 97. He also had a 3-pointer, but missed 3-of-6 free throws down the stretch. One would have given Houston its first lead since the first quarter, and the last cost the Rockets a chance to tie with 57 seconds left. Lin, a 78 percent foul shooter, had 19 points but went 6 of 10 from the line. Harden, Lin and Chandler Parsons — Houston’s three outside scoring threats — combined to make 17 of 50 from the field as the Rockets shot 39 percent and lost a season-high fifth straight coming off their second five-game winning streak, also a season best.

Indiana lost 97-86 at Orlando on Wednesday. The Magic led by as many as 22 points, and blew the game open with a big second-quarter run that included a barrage of 3-pointers. The Magic connected on 12 of their 21 attempts from beyond the arc for the game. Paul George had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Indiana, and George Hill added 15 points. Big man Roy Hibbert battled foul trouble throughout and finished with just 11 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. The Pacers have lost two of their last three. They still lead the NBA in points allowed and rebounds.

In the first of five straight games against teams from the Western Conference, the Pacers host the Houston on Friday. Though the Pacers lost both of their games against the Rockets in 2010-11 they have won five of the last seven games in the series with Houston and they have two of their last three home games with the Rockets. Among its five most recent wins in the series are three victories at Toyota Center, including the only game between the two teams in 2011-12 last April Fool’s Day. While the Pacers have won 12 of their last 19 games with Houston, the Rockets maintain a 48-31 edge in the series as a whole. Houston’s win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in November 2010 gave it a 20-19 edge in games on the Pacers’ home floor. The Pacers will make their only trip to Toyota Center of 2012-13 in late March.

WagerWeb.com trends: Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss. Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games. Rockets are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Pacers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. loss. Pacers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU loss of more than 10 points. Pacers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Southwest. Rockets are 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Indiana.

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