Danny Granger tipped in his own miss with 13 seconds left and the Pacers rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Rockets 91-90.
Troy Murphy scored 14 of his 21 points in the final quarter as Indiana snapped a three-game losing streak in Houston. Indiana was outrebounded 57-44, but held the Rockets to 35 percent shooting (31-of-89).
Indiana led after three quarters and lost at Orlando on Friday, then in Dallas on Tuesday. The Pacers also had a 60-48 halftime lead in Miami on Saturday before losing 109-100.
After watching opponents come back on them, the Pacers knew just what to do when the Rockets went up 84-74 on Carl Landry's dunk with 6½ minutes left.
"We've been in a lot of games this year where we've had the lead, we've been the team that's been up by 10," said Murphy, who went 7-for-11 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range. "We had that in the back of our mind that you can always come back."
Granger joked that the Pacers should let opponents take second-half leads from now on.
"I'm going to talk to my coach about that," Granger said with a smile. "Let's just tank it for the first 2½ quarters, and then try to come back and win."
After Landry grabbed an offensive rebound and dunked with 6:28 to go, Murphy hit consecutive 3-pointers to start Indiana's comeback.
The Pacers trailed 90-89 when Granger drove to the basket from the corner. He missed off the back rim, but tipped in the go-ahead basket.
Out of a timeout, Yao got the ball down low and missed from close range in traffic. Ron Artest got the rebound, but his desperate fadeaway fell short. The Rockets had a three-game winning streak snapped.
"To lose a game like that just makes my stomach hurt," Yao said.
Granger, meanwhile, said the Pacers should draw confidence from this win, just their second in seven games.
"There were a lot of little things in the way we lost, in the last minute or two minutes of the game," he said. "It was one of those things we've been dealing with. It was good to finally come back, when we're down, and get the victory."
McGrady started the Rockets' first 15 games, but sat out this one with more pain in his nagging left knee.
Shane Battier added five points and seven rebounds in his first game since sitting out training camp and the first month of the season with inflammation in his left foot. Battier twisted his right ankle late in the third quarter and played 29 minutes.
"I felt OK," said Battier, who went 2-for-6 from the field. "I'm still unaware of my movement and my body and obviously, my shot wasn't very good."
Houston led most of the game, despite shooting poorly from the start and losing Yao and Battier momentarily to injuries.
Less than 10 minutes into the game, Murphy drove into the lane and his right elbow hit Yao above his right eye, opening a cut. No foul was called, but Yao hit the floor and trainer Keith Jones came off the bench to check on him.
Yao, Houston's leading scorer, walked off the floor with a white towel pressed against the bloody cut.
The Rockets built a 10-point lead after Yao left. The Pacers made only 7 of 20 shots in the quarter.
Yao returned to the Rockets' bench, wearing a bandage over his eye. He was back on the floor for the start of the second quarter and ripped off the bandage after missing three shots.
Houston's cold shooting caught up with them just before the half ended, and Indiana rode a 17-8 run to a 47-44 lead at the break. Houston went 7-for-23 in the second quarter.
Houston opened the second half with an 8-0 burst, capped by a reverse layup and a 3-pointer from the corner by the re-energized Battier. The Rockets stretched the lead to 13 before Battier landed awkwardly on his right ankle after blocking a shot by Granger.
Battier drew a charge on Granger on the Pacers' next possession, then hobbled off the floor. He made a quick trip to the locker room with Jones, but returned to the game with 8:51 left.
- Landry had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets.
- The Pacers were outrebounded for the first time in six games.
- Murphy also grabbed 14 rebounds.