Monday, November 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: Pacers vs Grizzlies

Scott Agness | November 10, 2013

Matchup

The Pacers host a formidable opponent in the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday in what will conclude a trying five games in seven days. After returning to Indianapolis early Sunday then taking the day off, the Pacers bring their 7-0 undefeated record into this one.

Indiana has excelled on the defensive end thus far, holding opponents to an average of 85.3 points per game, which leads the league by nearly eight points per game. They are also the only team keeping opponents below 40 percent shooting (38.9). Memphis, which finished last year atop those statistics, has slipped all the way down to 15th and 22nd, respectively. The Grizzlies enter this contest 3-3, and they are winless (0-2) away from home.

Related: Mark's Mailbag on Lance, Danny, and the Win Streak »

Despite having the best season in franchise history, posting a 56-26 record and reaching the conference finals (and swept by San Antonio), Memphis parted ways with coach Lionel Hollins after the season. He was replaced by defensive-minded Dave Joerger, who was an assistant with the team since 2007-08. 13 teams made coaching changes since last season and Joerger is one of nine first-time head coaches. Sharpshooter Mike Miller signed with the Grizzlies after he was amnestied by Miami purely for cap reasons. They also re-signed Tony Allen.

Yet again, Pacers center Roy Hibbert has a difficult challenge in marking Marc Gasol. He’s made it known that he’s after the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award, which was won by Gasol last season.

The Grizzlies’ annual stop in Indy provides Lawrence North product Mike Conley and Marion, Ind. native Zach Randolph with a homecoming. Both are starters and they will each have dozens of family and friends in attendance.

These two teams have so many similarities: Players, style of play, and a defensive focus. Indiana’s defensive rotations have to be swift and they should be prepared for Memphis’ pick-and-roll game.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Mike Conley

Mike Conley

Tony Allen

Tony Allen

Tayshaun Prince

Tayshaun Prince

Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, strained left calf)
Grizzlies: Jerryd Bayless (day-to-day, right knee sprain)

Quotable

“It’s about the same as we had the last two games. He’s still really sore there. He’s going to play through it and we’ll continue to manage his minutes.” – Frank Vogel on George Hill “I think as much of a strength [Marc] Gasol and [Zach] Randolph are inside, keeping [Mike] Conley out of the lane I think is probably the bigger priority. His penetration – he continues to grow year after year after year and I think he’s becoming one of the elite point guards in the game so we have to keep him out of the lane.” – Vogel on Memphis

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers won both meetings last season.
  • Indiana’s 61 blocks, 30 from Hibbert alone, leads the league.
  • The third quarter has been where the Pacers are making their run. After trailing at half in each of the last four games (and in six of their first seven games), they’ve scored at least 26 points and shot 45 percent or better in all of those games.
  • Backup point guard C.J. Watson needs 11 points for 3,000 over his seven-year career.

Last Meeting

Jan. 21: George Hill sank a game-winning free throw for the Pacers as they won in Memphis on Martin Luther King, Jr. day 82-81, completing the season sweep. The Pacers were up by six points with four minutes to play but then the Grizzlies took the lead by scoring seven straight. Paul George, who had 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, nailed a 3-pointer from the left arc but then Zach Randolph answered with a layup. Hill attacked the hoop and was fouled in the act of shooting and he made the second of two foul shots. With 1.4 seconds remaining, Rudy Gay banked in a jumper but it clearly came after time has expired.

The Pacers shot 49.3 percent in a battle of the two best defensives. David West had 14 points and Hill added 13. Wayne Ellington led the Grizzlies with 17 points off the bench.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, 1070 The Fan (beginning at 8 p.m.), Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)

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