Myles Turner had 18 points, reserve Edmond Sumner added a season-high 17 and Indiana held off a late rally by Houston and James Harden to break a five-game losing streak to the Rockets, 108-104 on Wednesday.
It looked as if the Pacers had locked up the win when they went up 104-90 with 5:05 remaining. That's when Harden got Houston going, cutting it to 106-104 on with a driving basket with 27 seconds to go.
Harden had 11 of Houston's 14 points during the surge.
But after Victor Oladipo missed a 3-pointer, Turner tipped out the rebound to Justin Holiday with six seconds left. Holiday hit two foul shots to finish off Indiana's first victory over Houston since February 2017.
Indiana coach Nate McMillan let starters like Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren rest because of lingering injuries. The coach was glad to see the rest of the lineup step up in their absence of the pair, who've combined to average 36 points in a game this season.
Harden could not get off a final 3-pointer before the buzzer sounded. The Rockets have lost two straight for the first time since the NBA restarted the season.
Harden had 45 points and tied his career high with 17 rebounds. He came an assist shy of his fifth triple-double this season. It was Harden's 21st game this season with 40 points or more.
Holiday also has 18 points for the Pacers. Oladipo and Doug McDermont had 16 points apiece. Turner led the Pacers with 12 rebounds.
Jeff Green had 14 points for Houston. The Rockets struggled from the outside, going just 16 of 57 on 3-pointers.
McMillan said they knew Houston liked to take a lot of threes and the plan was to control the rebounds and get back quickly the other way.
Indiana is locked into fifth place and a matchup with No. 4 seed Miami in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Heat have won all three games against Indiana this season, including on Monday.
The two will meet Friday night to conclude the regular season.
>>Bucks Antetokounmpo to be Suspended For Tuesday Headbutt of Wizards Forward
Giannis Antetokounmpo let his emotions get the best of him on Tuesday, and the reigning MVP is paying the price for it. In a tense second quarter between his Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Wizards, Giannis, who had been fouled several times, finally lost his temper after a charge call. The Bucks called timeout, but Antetokounmpo, in his frustration, delivered a headbutt to Wizards big man Moe Wagner. He was called for a flagrant-2 foul and ejected.
As a result of the head shot, the NBA is suspending the Greek Freak for the Bucks' final seeding game Thursday against the Memphis Grizzlies, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Antetokounmpo was remorseful in his actions when speaking to the media after the game.
Antetokounmpo said quote - "Terrible action. If I could go back and turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn't do it. But at the end of the day, we're all human, we all make mistakes. I think I've done a great job all year, in my career, of keeping my composure and focusing on the game, but like I said, we're human, we make mistakes. But at the end of the day, learn from it, keep playing good basketball and keep moving forward."
In relation to why he reacted that way, the reigning MVP said that he was responding to what he felt was a build-up of emotion over the course of the game. While Wagner received the brunt of Antetokounmpo's frustration, he wasn't necessarily angry with him.
The ejection was the third of Antetokounmpo's regular-season career and fourth overall. Based on historical precedent, Antetokounmpo's one-game suspension was expected. Hasheem Thabeet (2013) and Kevin Garnett (2015) both headbutted opposing players and were suspended for their team's next game. Milwaukee's next game comes against Memphis as the Grizzlies desperately try to fight their way into the play-in tournament for the Western Conference's final playoff spot.
Milwaukee has nothing to play for having long-since clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, so losing Antetokounmpo for a game has no bearing on its playoff future.