Monday, January 21st at 1:00 PM EST at Fed Ex Forum

Game Preview: IND at MEM

by Scott Agness | January 18, 2013 | Updated January 20, 2013 3:45 PM

Matchup

Monday's game, falling on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is game number 42 for the Pacers, meaning it's their first game in the second half of the season. At 25-16, they are third in the Eastern Conference and just two-and-a-half games back from the top spot. Away for four-straight contests – all against Western Conference opponents – this may be a telling stretch before they return home for 11 of their next 13 games.

There are many similarities between these two teams, like their players, style of play, and records (both are in the top four of their respective conference standings). Memphis ranks 26th in points per game, three spots ahead of the Pacers, who are the best defensive team in the league—just ahead of the Grizzlies. But the best part of these teams going at it is the individual matchups, every one of them just as intriguing as the others: Hill/Conley, Stephenson/Allen, George/Gay, West/Randolph, Gasol/Hibbert.

That's perhaps why ESPN wanted to televise the meeting. It'll be the Pacers' first appearance this season on the network.

Indiana's big takeaway from their last meeting, on the final day of 2012, had to be the interior game. They were punished inside (44-18 points in the paint) and allowed far too many easy buckets. Zach Randolph, a double-double machine, has had an outstanding and All-Star worthy season. Randolph strained his lower back last week and missed a game but he returned on Saturday for a notable three-point win over Chicago in overtime. The Pacers must also contain Marc Gasol. Shooting 48 percent from the floor, Gasol can knock down the mid-range jumper and he has a nice touch around the rim.

After losing three consecutive games, each by more than 20 points, the Grizzlies have won their last two and are now home for four straight, beginning with the Pacers on Monday afternoon.

Not only will a week of games on the road be difficult, but all four of their opponents have winning records. The Pacers have struggled away from Indy, going just 9-13 on the season, with four losses in their last five tries.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Mike Conley

Tony Allen

Rudy Gay

Zach Randolph

Marc Gasol

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), Lance Stephenson (day-to-day, sore left foot)
Grizzlies: Quincy Pondexter (out, grade‐2 left MCL sprain), Zach Randolph (probable, strained lower back)

"We’ve just got to play our game. We’re a decent road team. After a rough start, we’re playing about .500 basketball on the road. We had a stretch where we won seven out of 10 on the road. Defense travels, that’s one thing I know. When we go into opposing buildings every night and your defense is solid, it just comes down to executing offensively." – Frank Vogel on playing on the road

“We view these as opportunity games. You get credit for beating a team with a losing record on the road but it doesn’t build the confidence and momentum that beating a playoff team on the road can bring.” – Frank Vogel on the upcoming stretch

“We’ve been good at it all year. We've just got to make sure we’re early on our help, our bigs got to compete on their post game and their pick-and-roll game and it's got to be a team effort.” – Frank Vogel on the frontcourt battle with Memphis

“The best thing we can do is stay together. Our defense will hold up but our offense is what really has to click. Coach preaches sharing the ball so that's really what we have to do this trip.” – Paul George on the mindset for the trip.

Noteworthy

  • Memphis has won seven of the last nine games in the series.
  • Away from Indy, the Pacers have lost four of their last five games.
  • The Grizzlies have two Indiana natives on their roster: Zach Randolph (Marion) and Mike Conley, Jr. (Lawrence North).
  • Tyler Hansbrough and Memphis guard Wayne Ellington played three years together at the University of North Carolina and won an NCAA Title in 2009.
  • Miles Plumlee has re-joined the team after a three-game stint in the D-League.
  • With the game falling on MLK Jr. Day, many Pacers will be wearing special Nike shoes with orange shoelaces.

Last Meeting

In their first meeting of the season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on New Year’s Eve, the Pacers had a big fourth quarter and rallied from 12 down for an 88-83 win. Filling in for George Hill, who missed the game with a strained groin, D.J. Augustin finished with a then season-high 17 points (4-for-7 from outside), and six assists.

The Pacers knocked down 12 3-pointers to just three for the Grizzlies, who owned the paint 44-18. Paul George scored 21 points. Memphis forward Zach Randolph had 21 points and 15 rebounds in the losing effort and Marc Gasol added 13.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: ESPN – Mark Jones (play-by-play), Chris Mullin (analyst)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (host)

Next Home Game

The Pacers return home on Wednesday, January 30 to take on the Detroit Pistons. Good seats are still available. Find Tickets »

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