(Sports Network) - The Indiana Pacers hope to build on their most impressive performance of the young season when they welcome the reeling Houston Rockets to Conseco Fieldhouse for the finale of a three-game homestand.
The Pacers improved to 1-1 on the residency by blitzing Denver, 144-113, on Tuesday when Mike Dunleavy scored 24 of Indiana's franchise-record 54 third- quarter points in the rout.
Dunleavy finished with 31 points and Darren Collison chipped in 29 points and six assists for Indiana, which made its first 20 shots from the field to start the third stanza and finished the quarter missing only one shot, a three-point attempt by Josh McRoberts in the closing seconds.
"I knew my shots would fall eventually," Dunleavy said. "I just had to keep shooting and tried to get in the rhythm. It was contagious. When I began to hit, everybody did. This is one that we have to build on and continue to improve. This was only one game."
Tyler Hansbrough netted 20 points to go with nine boards and Roy Hibbert ended with 17 points for the Pacers, who were coming off losses against Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Indiana outscored the Nuggets, 54-27, in the third.
Brandon Rush returned to the lineup after serving a five-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy and donated 16 points and seven boards off the bench in the victory.
The Rockets continued to struggle in their last outing, opening a three-game road trip by suffering a 98-91 setback at the hands of John Wall and Washington on Wednesday.
Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in last June's draft, posted the first triple- double by a Washington rookie since Tom Gugliotta in 1992, scoring 19 points with 13 assists and 10 rebounds, in the Wizards win.
Kevin Martin scored a game-best 31 points with seven rebounds and six assists, while Luis Scola compiled 24 points and six rebounds for the Rockets, who were coming off their first win of the season.
Houston, which came into the game averaging 112 points per contest, could only muster 91 in what turned out to be Wall's coming-out party.
"We keep losing," said Martin. "We have to figure it out and keep grinding as a team."
Meanwhile, oft-injured center Yao Ming left the game with another left leg injury after playing the first six-plus minutes. The big man, who sat out the entire 2009-2010 season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left foot, was diagnosed with a mild left ankle sprain on Thursday and will miss at least a week of action.
Houston, which is 0-4 on the road this season, will finish its trip in New York on Sunday.
The Pacers have swept their home-and-home season series with the Rockets over the past two seasons.