Going into the Memphis Grizzlies road game at the Indiana Pacers Monday afternoon, the Grizzlies had beaten the Pacers 5 straight times. The Grizzlies had also scored 98 points or more in 11 of the last 12 against the Pacers. Both of those streaks came to an end as Indiana won 88-83 in a New Year’s Eve matinee to improve to 18-13. The Grizzlies dropped to 19-9.
The first quarter was pretty even. Indiana help 5 points leads at 15-10 and 17-12. However, Memphis closed the quarter on a 7-2 run over the last 3:31 of the quarter to make it 19-19 at teh end of the quarter.
The Grizzlies extended their run over the first 3:39 of the second quarter to make it 28-21 with 8:21 to go. The Pacers would close to within 28-26 with 6:37 left. Memphis would maintain the lead until halftime, going back up by 7 a couple of times. The Pacers pulled to within 39-38 with 27 seconds left, but Memphis made it 41-38 at halftime.
The Pacers would take a 47-46 lead early in the third quarter, Memphis then went on a 15-2 run to go up by 12 with just over 6 minutes to go in the third. Indiana would pull back within 61-54 with 4:28 to go. Memphis made it 67-56 with 2:40 to go. Neither team would score again in the quarter until the Pacers scored 4 points in the last 40 seconds to make it 67-60 Grizzlies at the end of the quarter.
The 4th quarter was ugly as there were only 8 points combined by both teams in the first 5 minutes. Indiana guard Ben Hansbrough made two three pointers in the first 3 minutes of the quarter to make it 69-66 with just over 9 minutes to go. Neither team would score again until Indiana center Roy Hibbert made two free throws with just over 7 minutes to go in the game. The two teams would trade the lead at 70-69 and 71-70. Indiana forward David West made two free throws to make it 72-71. The Pacers would never trail again. A D.J. Augustin 3 pointer gave Indiana an 82-76 lead with 2:06 to go.
Memphis would claw back to within 82-81 on two Mike Conley free throws with 41 seconds left. Augustin made two free throws to make it 84-81. Conley then made a bucket to make it 84-83 with 16 seconds to go. Augustin made two more free throws to make it 86-83 with 14 seconds left. Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay missed a 3 pointer with 5 seconds to go. Pacers guard Lance Stephenson then buried two free throws to ice the game 88-83 for the Pacers. Not that it would have mattered, but Conley missed a three pointer at the buzzer.
Memphis shot 37.8% from the field, including 3/11 from 3 point range. The Grizzlies made 18 of 24 free throws. Memphis had 44 rebounds, 17 assists, 10 steals, 5 blocks and 16 turnovers. The Grizzlies had 10 fast break points and 44 points in the paint.
Zach Randolph had 21 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. It was the ninth straight double double for Randolph against the Pacers. Center Marc Gasol had 13 points, 2 rebounds and a block. Gay had 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals. Guard Tony Allen had 11 points, 6 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. Conley had 9 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and a block. The bench only scored 18 points for the Grizzlies. Forward Quincy Pondexter missed the game with a sprained knee and is out indefinitely.
Indiana shot 40% from the field including 12/25 from 3 point range. The Pacers made 20 of 24 free throws. Indiana had 38 rebounds, 21 assists, 9 steals, 9 blocks, and 18 turnovers. The Pacers had 11 fast break points, and 18 points in the paint.
Forward Paul George had 21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block. Augustin had 17 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, and a steal. All four of his made field goals were 3 pointers. Augustin started in place of George Hill who missed the game with a strained right groin. West had 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. Stephenson had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. Hibbert had 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, and a steal.
Indiana and Memphis lead the lead in points allowed and are also among the best in the league at opponent’s field goal percentage. So we expected a rock fight. The difference in the game was Indiana was hot from behind the arc making 12 3 pointers. Next up for Memphis is a game at Boston Wednesday night.