Monday, December 31st at 3:00 PM EST at Bankers LIfe Fieldhouse
Game Preview: IND vs MEM
by Scott Agness | December 30, 2012
Back home for six of their next seven games, the Indiana Pacers will try to shake off a tough loss Saturday in Atlanta against the Memphis Grizzlies, another top team, in an afternoon special on New Year’s Eve.
Memphis started the season off in a sprint, winning 12 of their first 14 games, including eight in a row. They have since leveled off a bit, though at 19-8, are off to their best start in franchise history. After dropping two in a row, the Grizzlies got back in the win column with a 81-72 decision over Denver.
It’s the annual homecoming for two Memphis players, both starters. Zach Randolph attended Marion High School and Mike Conley Jr. graduated from Lawrence North High School. Because of last year’s lockout-shortened season, this will be their first time back in over two years. You have to go back to Dec. 26, 2010 when they last visited and left with a 104-90 win.
Due to their most recent game—holding Denver to 72 points—the Grizzlies top the league in fewest points allowed per game (90.11), just in front of the Pacers (90.53). The Grizzlies are second in steals per game and they have the third-best free throw percentage. They have a very similar makeup to the Pacers: A couple bruisers inside (although Roy Hibbert hasn’t played to potential), a swingman in Rudy Gay and an efficient point guard in Conley Jr.
Where they like to attack is in the post. The Grizzlies have the greatest points in the paint differential in the league at +10.7. Randolph leads the NBA in double-doubles with 21 on the season. He’s scoring 17 points while shooting 50 percent from the field and gathering over 12 rebounds a game – good for third-best in the league. Marc Gasol is averaging a career-high 14 points, eight rebounds and almost two blocks per game.
Rudy Gay leads the Grizzlies in scoring with 18 points and six rebounds a game.
Roy Hibbert will be coming off his first scoreless game in almost two years. How will he respond?
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), George Hill (questionable, right thigh contusion), Lance Stephenson (questionable, left groin strain), Sam Young (questionable, flu)
Grizzlies: Quincy Pondexter (day-to-day, mild right calf strain), Tony Wroten (not with team, D‐League assignment)
- Memphis has won the last five meetings.
- The Pacers are 9-3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – including four wins in a row.
- Memphis has forced at least 10 turnovers in 130 consecutive games. Atlanta is a distant second with 42.
- The Grizzlies are 9-0 when scoring at least 100 points.
- Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are 8th, 10th and 11th in votes on the Western Conference frontcourt list for 2013 NBA All-Star game after second returns.
- Tyler Hansbrough and Memphis guard Wayne Ellington played three years together at the University of North Carolina and won an NCAA Title in 2009.
The last time these two teams met was back in mid-October for the Pacers’ third and final home preseason home game. Playing without starters George Hill, Danny Granger and David West, Indiana topped Memphis 83-80. The Pacers were led by Gerald Green, who scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Despite missing their final nine field goals to close the game, the Grizzlies had a chance to force overtime. However, Rudy Gay’s three-point try as time expired was off the mark.
Paul George and Roy Hibbert each had 14 points and Ian Mahinmi added 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench. The Grizzlies were led by Zach Randolph’s 15 points and Marc Gasol contributed 13.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Michael Grady (host)
The Pacers-Grizzlies game is on Monday, December 31, with a special holiday tip-off time of 3:00 PM EST. Buy Tickets »