After getting things going against Golden State, the Grizz had a chance to reassert themselves against the best team in basketball: the 7-0 Pacers. Memphis dug yet another double-digit hole in the first half, with Lance Stevenson acting as the shovel, nearly pulling a triple-double in two quarters (11 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists). After letting the Grizzlies back within 7 at halftime, Frank Vogel gave one of his awesome half-time speeches and the Pacers owned the third quarter, allowing the Grizzlies just 2 paint points. It turned into a laugher by the 4th, and finished 95-79.
Ed Davis fractured Quincy Pondexter’s nose with an errant elbow in the first half, if you’re looking for a single play that summarizes the game.
Dave Joerger said after the Warriors game that the tight rotation he used (to great success) was situational, and that it was “silly to commit to the future.” Sure enough, he took the lid off the bench early in this one, sending Quincy, Ed Davis, and Nick Calathes out in the first quarter (Conley picked up early fouls again). Indiana presents interesting matchup problems for Memphis, so it’s understandable that Joerger would want to test the waters lineup-wise, but the offense suffered noticeably when the all-bench unit of Calathes, Miller, Pondexter, Koufos, and Davis saw the floor. At one point, Calathes stood behind the three-point line for a good 8 seconds, completely isolated, before anyone — QPon, in this case — even moved in his direction. It was the most unbasketball thing I hope I ever see.
The Pacers’ size underneath bothered Memphis all night. They dominated the boards (45 to Memphis’ 32), got 9 blocks, and had their way in the paint offensively with 38 points. Memphis’ soft interior defense is becoming a serious issue: Paul George scored just 4 in the first half, but finished with 23 after he realized he could walk through the paint with his head down.
The Grizzlies’ offense could not get it going, but not because they didn’t work through their bigs. Gasol was 5 of 13, and more than half of those misses were wide open mid-range J’s. Randolph was 6 of 12, and Conley was an abysmal 4-11. These weren’t bad shots, nor were they rushed — they just weren’t falling. After the game was blown open in the second half, the offense dissolved completely, so if you tuned in for just the final quarter, you might have seen the worst of it. Joerger’s personnel choices were somewhat limited, too, with Bayless still out (knee sprain) and Pondexter being fitted for a face mask — but I have to agree with this:
If you’re looking for a bright spot, the turnover margin was under control: 10 for 14 points. And this was against a great defensive team. Check out the full box score here.
Next up his the Rudy Gay homecoming: Toronto comes to Memphis on Wednesday night (7 p.m. Central tip). You can find Grizzlies tickets here if you’re looking to see Rudy return to Memphis.