GAME RECAP: Pacers 105, Grizzlies 101

All five Indiana starters score in double-figures as the Pacers finish with a 105-101 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Postgame 180131

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 105, Grizzlies 101

All five Indiana starters score in double-figures as the Pacers finish with a 105-101 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Jan 31, 2018  |  01:24

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Jan. 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 - Bojan Bogdanovic, Victor Oladipo, and Myles Turner give their thoughts on their hard fought victory over Memphis on Wednesday night.
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:27

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - Jan. 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan spoke to the media following Indiana's 105-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Jan 31, 2018  |  08:35

Lance Drops a Dime

January 31, 2018: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:03

Myles With the Denial

January 31, 2018: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:07

Postgame: Grizzlies Locker Room - Jan. 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 - Memphis Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and center Marc Gasol discussed Indiana's 105-101 win on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:56

Thad With the Monster Slam

January 31, 2018: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Jan 31, 2018  |  01:57

Bojan Bangs the Transition Three

January 31, 2018: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:14

Myles Slams In Transition

January 31, 2018: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:30

Domas Hammers It Home

January 31, 2018: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:34

Lance Finds TJ for Three

January 31, 2018: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:17

Myles Shows Off Post Moves

January 31, 2018: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Jan 31, 2018  |  02:32

Rested Bogdanovic Regains His Form

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Bojan Bogdanovic's scoreless and all-around ineffective performance against Charlotte on Monday had convinced Nate McMillan some rest was in order for his starting forward. But what kind?

A game or two off? Reduced minutes in games?

It turned out the coach's prescription was a day off from practice. The Pacers had a light workout anyway on Tuesday, but Bogdanovic merely watched the proceedings. That seemed enough to revive his flagging spirit and restore his confidence — just in time for the Pacers to avoid what would have been one of their worst losses of the season.

Their 105-101 victory over a depleted Memphis team at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday came despite serious flaws. They were outscored 23-9 on second-chance points, missed 10 free throws and were outrebounded 41-33. It didn't help that leading scorer Victor Oladipo had as bad a scoring game as he's had all season and committed seven turnovers.

Bogdanovic picked up the slack with his best scoring game since Nov. 27. He finished with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting and matched his career high with three steals, one of which was one of the most crucial plays of the game. He also got a rare opportunity to finish the game, playing the final five minutes, and took advantage by hitting three game-clinching free throws with seven-tenths of a second remaining.

Bogdanovic had gone scoreless and grabbed just two rebounds in 24 minutes in Monday's game, prompting McMillan's decision to give him a day off. The easy assumption was physical fatigue, given Bogdanovic's busy summer of international competition for his native Croatia and his recent shooting slump, but he claimed mental fatigue resulting from frustration.

"Maybe I was a little tired," he said. "But mentally (I was tired) because I played bad almost all month. Coach really give me rest yesterday. I didn't do nothing. That reflects today on my game."

Bogdanovic had surpassed expectations early in the season, averaging 16.5 points while hitting 54 percent of his 3-pointers over a 13-game stretch that ended the third week of November. It turned out to be unsustainable. Over the previous 25 games before Wednesday, he had shot just 41 percent from the field and 28 percent from the 3-point line. He interrupted that slide with an occasional good game, but mostly it was a long slog that left him increasingly exasperated.

"You're struggling, then you hesitate, then you make wrong decisions, then you get a little bit crazy in your own mind," He said. "Hopefully it's over."

Bogdanovic eased into Wednesday's game, scoring three points in the first quarter and four in the second. He hit two 3-pointers in the third period, the second in transition on a feed from Thaddeus Young that exemplified the persistent trust his teammates have shown in him.

He suffered a relapse when he missed two-of-three free throws after drawing a foul on a 3-point attempt, but later made up for it with a clutch defensive play. Stepping in front of
Andrew Harrison's pass toward the sideline, he picked off a steal and drove for a layup that opened a four-point lead for the Pacers.

That was extended to six on Oladipo's two foul shots, but the Pacers missed four consecutive 3-pointers — two by Bogdanovic — to invite the Grizzlies back into the game.

Memphis led 101-100 and had two chances to extend its lead before Myles Turner hit two free throws.

Wayne Selden then rebounded Marc Gasol's missed shot and drove hard to the basket. He missed, then fouled Bogdanovic, who had grabbed the rebounded, and drew a technical foul and immediate ejection for his emotional reaction to the lack of a foul call.

Bogdanovic, the best free throw shooter in the game for the Pacers, hit the technical shot and both foul shots for a four-point lead that put the game out of the Grizzlies' reach.

The Pacers are 12-3 when Bogdanovic hits at least three 3-pointers. It's no coincidence, because his long-distance marksmanship — and even just the threat of it — spreads the court and opens driving lanes for Oladipo and others. That's why Bogdanovic's teammates have stuck with him, on the court and in the locker room.

When a reporter began a question by telling Oladipo that Bogdanovic "had gone through an extended..." he was immediately cut off.

"I don't know what you're talking about!" Oladipo said, smiling and shaking his head.

"We've just been telling Bojan from the beginning of the year, 'You've got to shoot it, shoot it with confidence.' When he makes shots, we're very, very hard to guard. He makes it easier for everybody."

And when it was mentioned to Turner that Bogdanovic had been "invisible" for a while, Turner judged that assessment to be "a harsh way of putting it" and found something to compliment.

"He's really been key for us on the defensive side of things," Turner said. "Whenever he gets his shot going, it's icing on the cake. Bojan is big out there. Whenever he's hitting shots, it's like, 'All right, that's the Bojan we know.'"

Bogdanovic had no explanation for his recent shooting miseries, other than some discomfort with a pick-and-roll-centric offense that hampers his aggression. Basically, it was a case of a shooting slump that grew out of control, worse than he had ever experienced before as a starter.

"Every shooter (goes through slumps), but I hadn't had this long of a stretch," he said. "When you're coming off the bench, you don't have a lot of minutes and you're up and down. But as a starter, I never had a month like this.

"When you don't see balls go in, it's kind of frustrating for you. I just have to be aggressive."

The Pacers, now 29-23, survived Bogdanovic's prolonged slump reasonably well. And then Wednesday they survived Oladipo's worst scoring game of the season. He had also scored 13 in a loss at Detroit on Dec. 26, but only played 26 minutes in that game because of a sore knee that kept him out of the next four games.

There's a statement to be found amid those details.

"It shows how good we are when you have a couple players who are struggling and you can still win games," Bogdanovic said.


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Mark Montieth's book, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," covers the formation and early seasons of the franchise. It is available at retail outlets throughout Indiana and online at sources such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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