Game Rewind: Pacers 84, Grizzlies 96
The Memphis Grizzlies (15-14) stymied the Pacers’ offense and snapped their three-game win streak on Saturday night at FedEx Forum, handing Indiana (16-10) a 96-84 road loss.
Memphis led for virtually the entire night, limiting Indiana to just 39 percent shooting and a season-worst 17.9-percent clip from 3-point range.
“With a team like (Memphis), they load the paint so well, it’s kind of hard to play in the paint and get easy baskets at the rim,” Pacers forward Paul George said.
The Grizzlies opened the night with a 9-1 spurt and led by as many as nine points in the first quarter as the Pacers struggled to get going offensively. George had 11 points in the opening period, but the rest of his teammates managed just five as Indiana converted just 5-of-18 shots in the period.
Pacers guard Rodney Stuckey provided a nice spark leading the second unit in the second quarter. Stuckey, who had scored in double figures in four straight contests entering Saturday night, registered 10 points in 11:32 in the first half.
Memphis maintained its lead all the way until halftime, but Jordan Hill’s putback with 3.9 seconds left in the second quarter trimmed the Pacers’ deficit to just one heading into the locker room.
The Pacers briefly surged in front early in the second half, tying the game at 46 on George’s 3-pointer 1:19 into the third quarter and taking their only lead of the night on George Hill’s floater 28 seconds later.
Memphis moved back in front less than a minute later, when Matt Barnes buried a corner three, the start of a 12-0 Grizzlies run. The Pacers climbed back within two points on two occasions late in the third quarter, but the Grizz pushed their lead back to double digits in the fourth quarter and the Pacers never got within two possessions over the final nine minutes.
“We didn’t get stops when we needed to get stops and were trying to get back in the game,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said after the loss. “…It wasn’t good enough.”
With the victory, the Grizzlies swept the season series with Indiana for the second consecutive year (Memphis spoiled the Pacers’ home opener with a 112-103 victory back on Oct. 29). The win was a much-needed confidence boost for Memphis, who had lost two straight and four of their last five.
George led all scorers with 29 points on 8-of-22 shooting, but he also had seven of the Pacers’ 17 turnovers. Monta Ellis had 13 points and Stuckey added 11. Jordan Hill recorded his sixth double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and 13 rebounds (five on the offensive glass).
Former Lawrence North High School standout Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 20 points and eight assists. All-NBA center Marc Gasol was solid all-around, contributing 19 points, 12 boards, and six assists. Defensive specialist Matt Barnes gave the Grizz an unexpected offensive boost, hitting his first four shots en route to a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds).
It doesn’t get any easier for the Pacers, who now head to San Antonio for a date on Monday night with the Spurs, who boast the NBA’s second-best record and are a perfect 15-0 at home so far this season.
“It’s a tough one, but we have another one on Monday and we have to get ready for San Antonio,” Ellis said. “We have to put this one behind us and keep moving.”
Inside the Numbers
Saturday was just the third time this season and first since Nov. 4 that the Pacers shot below 40 percent. They shot a season-worst 37.2 percent in their season opener on Oct. 28 in Toronto, then posted a .385 field goal percentage in their win over Boston a week later.
C.J. Miles, the Pacers’ second-leading scorer and a 41.9-percent 3-point shooter heading into Saturday’s game, missed all five of his attempts from beyond the arc and all nine of his shots overall, posting his first scoreless game of the season. The last time Miles failed to score in a game on March 31 against Brooklyn last season, a game in which he played just six minutes before spraining his ankle.
George had seven turnovers for the second straight night (he also had seven giveaways in Friday’s win over Brooklyn). Prior to this weekend, George had only committed seven turnovers in two games over his entire NBA career.
Jordan Hill has now recorded double-doubles in three of his last four games and six on the season, one behind George for the team lead.
You Can Quote Me On That
“We have a lot of capable 3-point shooters on this team, a lot of great 3-point shooters on this team. Tonight they just didn’t fall. That’s two nights in a row on a back-to-back where we couldn’t get the perimeter game going and it resulted in a loss for us.” -George
“We have to limit our turnovers. Some of those shots we had wide open and we turned it right over.” -Ellis
“I thought he had some good looks, a couple that weren’t good looks. It was just one of those nights. He’s been red hot for us, he had an off night tonight.” -Vogel on Miles’ offensive struggles
“They are hard as heck to guard because they can really shoot. CJ Miles had a tough night tonight but they’ve got a lot of offensive weapons around the perimeter.” -Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger
“Playing with the effort we showed tonight consistently, I think we have too many weeks where we go one out of three games and play like this. We played really hard and upbeat and a lot of energy.” -Conley
Stat of the Night
The Pacers made just 5-of-28 shots from 3-point range in Saturday’s loss, shooting a season-worst 17.9 percent from 3-point range. Their previous worst percentage was .188 (3-for-16) in a 22-point loss in Detroit a week ago.
by Wheat Hotchkiss