HOUSTON (AP) — Alperen Sengun finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists to guide Houston over visiting Indiana in the Rockets’ preseason opener.
Veteran guard Fred VanVleet, who signed a three-year, $130-million deal with Houston, scored 10 points in his debut for the Rockets. He made 3 of 11 shots, 2 of 6 from beyond the arc, with four assists in 25 minutes.
No. 4 pick Amen Thompson struggled in his first game, scoring nine points on 1-for-9 shooting. Thompson made 5 of 6 foul shots and grabbed nine rebounds. Cam Whitmore, the 20th overall pick, totaled 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting with three 3-pointers. Jabari Smith Jr. scored 14 with seven rebounds.
Aaron Nesmith led Indiana (0-2) with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Bennedict Mathurin had 14 points, while Jalen Smith sank all five of his shots, scoring 11.
Indiana first-rounder Ben Sheppard also scored 11. He was 3 for 7 from distance with four boards and four assists.
The Pacers were missing three key players, with All-Star Tyrese Haliburton and center Myles Turner getting the night off to rest. Second-year guard Andrew Nembhard missed a second straight game while recovering from a kidney stone.
Houston’s Dillon Brooks was ejected 4:33 into the game for a flagrant foul 2 to the groin of Daniel Theis.
The Pacers round out their preseason schedule with home games against Atlanta (Oct. 16) and Cleveland (Oct. 20). They host Washington at Gainbridge Fieldhouse to open the regular season on Oct. 25.