GAME RECAP: Pacers 126, Grizzlies 114

T.J. Warren scores 26 points and grabs 4 rebounds as the Pacers beat the Grizzlies, 126-114.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 126, Grizzlies 114

T.J. Warren scores 26 points and grabs 4 rebounds as the Pacers beat the Grizzlies, 126-114.
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:01

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Nov. 25, 2019

November 25, 2019 - Myles Turner, Justin Holiday, Aaron Holiday and Jermey Lamb discuss the 126-114 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Nov 25, 2019  |  01:55

McDermott Steps In

Doug McDermott Steps in for 3
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:07

Buckets for Warren

Buckets for T.J. Warren
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:07

Warren Robs the Grizz

T.J. Warren Robs the Grizz
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:06

McConnell Shows Hustle

T.J. McConnell Shows Hustle
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:13

McConnell Spin and Shoot

T.J. McConnell Spin and Shoot
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:05

McConnell Beats the Buzzer

McConnell Beats the Buzzer
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:11

McConnell Snags a 3

T.J. McConnell Snags a 3
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:06

Warren Fights for It

T.J. Warren Fights for 2
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:04

Lamb Slides In

Jeremy Lamb Slides In for a 2
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:02

Warren Dunk and Hang

T.J. Warren Dunks and Hangs
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:04

Warren Corner 3

T.J. Warren Hits a Corner 3
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:04

Lamb Sinks a 3

Jeremy Lamb Sinks a 3
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:09

Lamb Kicks Off 3Q

Jeremy Lamb Kicks Off the Third Quarter with a 2
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:08

Turner Defends the Rim

Myles Turner Defends the Rim
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:05

Block by Goga Bitadze in the second quarter

Goga Bitadze with the Big Block in the Second Quarter
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:00

McConnell From Behind

McConnell From Behind
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:05

Rebounds on Rebounds

Rebounds on Rebounds
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:09

Ball Movement and Score

Ball Movement and Score
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:10

Holiday Layup

Aaron Holiday off the glass
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:07

Brogdon to Domas Set Up

Malcolm Brogdon Sets Up Domantas Sabonis
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:05

Warren Charge

T.J. Warren Charges
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:04

Brogdon Feeds Myles a 2

Malcolm Brogdon Feeds Myles Turner a 2
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:06

Brogdon Warms Up

Brogdon Warms Up
Nov 25, 2019  |  00:06

Pacers Score 126, But McMillan Focused on Defense

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

They scored a season-high 126 points, hit a season-high 18 3-pointers and shot better than 61 percent from the field through the first three quarters. They also committed just 13 turnovers, controlled the boards again and had another slew of superlative individual performances.

Asked about the offense afterward, however, it only took but 13 seconds and two sentences for Nate McMillan to turn his attention to the defense.

The Pacers' 126-114 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday might have looked easy, might even have seemed a cause for celebration with the non-Oladipo starting lineup intact again, but McMillan brought a serious, almost solemn demeanor to the postgame press conference.

"Offensively we did a good job executing, getting out and pushing the ball, playing early, playing late," he said, referring to his desire to either get a quick shot in transition off a defensive rebound or be patient in the halfcourt offense. "We had 29 assists, so we had good ball movement."

And then he changed the subject to what really was on his mind.

"But we were trading baskets," he said. "We gave up 62 points in the paint; that's way too many points to give up.

"We're going to need to be better defensively. We need to score, definitely, but it starts with us establishing we can stop a team. We can score if we execute and set screens and move the ball like we did tonight, but I felt all game long we were trading baskets."

McMillan even found a tarnished lining to Myles Turner blocking a season-high five shots. Had the perimeter defense been better, Turner wouldn't have had enough opportunities to do so.

"That's way too many blocked shots," McMillan said. "When he has to block five shots, the offense is getting to the rim."

The Pacers entered the game allowing an average of 103.3 points, fifth-fewest in the NBA. Their opponents had hit 43.5 percent of their field goal attempts, seventh-lowest. So, for Memphis, an average offensive team that left town with a 5-11 record, to score as freely as it did, particularly when it ran off 12 consecutive points early in the fourth quarter to get the lead down to 17 and force McMillan to call a timeout to interrupt its momentum...well, it rubbed some of the shine off the Pacers' third straight victory that nudged their record to 10-6.

His players didn't need convincing.

"The defense was lacking tonight," said point guard Malcolm Brogdon, who returned to the starting lineup after a three-game absence. "Just lapses. Coming in on Wednesday, I think we'll pick it up."

They'll have to. Utah visits the Fieldhouse on Wednesday, providing just the third opponent of the season that entered Monday's play with a winning record. The Jazz are 11-6 after losing by just four points at Eastern Conference leader Milwaukee, so defensive lapses against that caliber of team likely will have serious ramifications.

No wonder, then, McMillan wanted to keep his team grounded.

Former Park Tudor standout Jaren Jackson Jr. kept Memphis from total embarrassment by scoring a season-high 28 points before being subbed out midway through the fourth quarter. The second-year forward hit a career-high six 3-pointers in eight attempts, while fellow forward Jae Crowder hit three more.

McMillan was more disturbed by all those shots at the rim, though, even the ones that were blocked. Memphis entered the game as the NBA's leader in points within the foul lane and outscored the Pacers 62-50 in that area.

Turner wasn't bothered, though. The NBA's leader in blocked shots last season and in the recent preseason has shifted his focus to that specialty. He had as many blocked shots as shot attempts in this game, which didn't exactly thrill him but also didn't offend him.

"I'm cool, man," he said. "If guys want to keep coming to the rim and keep challenging me, I think I'm going to win most of those battles," he said. "I think what Nate was implying is that we can't get beat like that. But for me personally, I know I'm a good shot-blocker so I'm up for the challenge."

And to be fair, McMillan didn't ignore the offensive display. The ball movement and shooting accuracy was at a peak level until the 29-point lead softened the Pacers' focus in the final period. Brogdon was sharp in his return with 14 points, six rebounds, and eight assists and it probably wasn't a coincidence that T.J. Warren regained his offensive groove.

Warren had scored just two points while hitting just 1-of-4 shots in Saturday's victory over Orlando but had 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting against the Grizzlies.

"Malcolm gets everybody in their spots," he said. "He's a great point guard. Glad that he's back in the lineup."

That stats explain Warren's relief. He has averaged 19.1 points on 55 percent shooting in the 13 games he has played with Warren. He averaged 12 points on 31 percent shooting in the other three.

"He knows me well," Brogdon said. "He knows where he's going to get the ball and we play really well together."

The Pacers have started six different starting lineups this season. The one that started on Monday – the intended one until Victor Oladipo returns – had only been utilized twice and not since the fourth game of the season, on Oct. 30. The playing rotation has varied as well, and some players have had to play more than one position.

The lack of stability made the ball movement and shot-making displayed in this latest victory all the more impressive and bodes well for the future if it can stay together for a while. McMillan has had to constantly tweak the offense to cater to the available personnel, but for the most part the offense has remained balanced and potent.

Why?

"Two things," Brogdon said. "The camaraderie and trust the guys have in this locker room translates onto the floor, but also the confidence Coach McMillan puts in us to play our games."

That wasn't the bottom line McMillan took from the game, though.

"We have to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us," he said.


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Mark Montieth's book on the formation and groundbreaking seasons of the Pacers, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," is available in bookstores throughout Indiana and on Amazon.com.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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