INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Houston rookie Carl Landry gave his former college teammates plenty to cheer about Friday night in his first NBA game at Conseco Fieldhouse.
With Purdue coach Matt Painter and the Boilermakers basketball team in attendance, Landry scored 13 of his career-high 22 points in the fourth quarter to help the Rockets beat Indiana 106-103 for their sixth consecutive road victory.
"There's no place like home," said Landry, who played his final two years of college basketball at Purdue. "I'm happy to be back in Indiana."
Despite playing in only 12 games entering Friday, Landry looked more like a seasoned professional than a second-round draft pick. He finished 9-of-11 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
"When you have veterans on the team, you really don't pay attention to the rookies because they're not on the court that much," said Rockets guard Tracy McGrady, who finished with 19 points. "I didn't know he could shoot the ball like he's been showing lately, and I didn't know he could finish the way he's finishing."
With the score tied at 79 entering the fourth quarter, the Pacers opened a 97-92 lead on Danny Granger's jumper with 5:30 left. Houston answered with a 9-2 run, which included five points from Landry, to take a 101-99 advantage.
Landry's free throw gave the Rockets a 104-101 edge with 47 seconds remaining, and Mike Dunleavy's layup cut the deficit to 104-103 with 30 seconds left. Following a Houston turnover, the Pacers had a chance to take the lead, but Travis Diener missed a 3-pointer.
Houston's Shane Battier hit a pair of free throws with 6 seconds left, and Dunleavy's 3-point attempt as time expired was short.
Rockets coach Rick Adelman was impressed with Landry's poise in the final period.
"He made some big plays down the stretch," Adelman said. "Every time I've played him in a game, except once, he's been effective. ... Carl was terrific in that fourth quarter."
Landry said it makes his job easier when he's on the floor with McGrady and All-Star center Yao Ming.
"Yao gets double-teamed every single time, so all you have to do is find the open spots," Landry said.
Yao finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Battier scored 13 points for the Rockets (26-20), who continued their strong play away from home.
"There's less distractions on the road," McGrady said. "It's just us against the crowd and the other team. I think we're more focused."
"We have a new day tomorrow," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. "You can't worry about the past."
The Rockets took their biggest lead of the first half, 50-42, on Landry's jumper with 3:30 left in the second quarter. Indiana scored the final five points of the half to close to 54-53 at the break.
Houston opened a 72-67 advantage in the third quarter, but Granger's two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws by David Harrison gave the Pacers a 75-74 lead with 2 minutes left in the period.
"We're doing a lot of good things, but we're just not doing it at the end," Granger said.
Rockets G Luther Head left the game in the second quarter with a groin strain and did not return. ... Pacers F Jermaine O'Neal missed his seventh straight game with a bone bruise in his left knee. ... McGrady picked up a technical foul late in the second quarter for arguing a non-call. ... The Rockets' last road loss came Jan. 2 at Boston. ... The Pacers, who host Orlando on Saturday, dropped to 3-11 in the first game of back-to-backs this season.
- Jim Clark
- James Capers
- John Goble