Memphis vs Pacers Recap: The Take from Down Under

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

After a thrashing of the Golden State Warriors, the Grizzlies were shot down to earth by the bulletproof Pacers.

In a battle of defense, as ranked last season, it was the first placed Pacers pitted against the second Grizzlies, with the scene set for a gritty affair. It started slow, with both teams’ defense dominating, and whilst Gasol’s passing, as well as free throws, kept the Grizzlies in it, the interior presence of Hibbert was felt early on, who had four blocks in the quarter. The saying often goes that good defense leads into good offense, but for the Griz it seems to be the opposite, as poor offensive possessions left them vulnerable to fast break opportunities for Indiana. The Grizzlies shot 33% in the paint in the opening quarter, and were dominated on the inside to the tune of 7 offensive boards for the Pacers.

A bright spot was the play of Calathes in the second, who pushed the ball well and created off the bounce, but otherwise bench production was poor. The Pacers, after packing the paint on Gasol and Z-bo, began to allow entry passes in for the limited Koufos and Ed, who shot 2/7 over 6 minutes, and were unable to kick it out to the shooters of Pondexter (who left with a fractured nose) and Miller. The starters entered by the midway point, and Lance Stephenson begun to take over, grabbing rebounds and pushing the tempo through the slow Grizzlies transition defense for easy opportunities in a gritty game. Although the Grizzlies only committed their first turnover at the 3 minute mark, they were shooting a horrible percentage due to a swarming Pacer’s defense that responded to personnel changes (Starters – pack the paint, Bench – Allow Ed and Koufos to take it in the post, close out shooters). Furthermore, the Pacers were getting fast break opportunites anyway off the Grizzlies misses, and the half ended on a small run from the Grizzlies with a score of 39-45, advantage Pacers.

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Although Memphis was the team with the highest second half shooting percentage in the league, it didn’t show as David West and Roy Hibbert continued to dominate the paint, whilst Lance, Paul George and George Hill all had their moments scoring the ball in the quarter. Conley and Gasol began to develop some chemistry, but the lead was out at 44-57, and Conley was pulled for Calathes after his fourth foul at the 5-minute mark (an issue so far in the season). The Pacers were pressuring Gasol with the ball and disrupting the Grizzlies offense, whilst cutting off passing lanes seemed to stop any off ball player movement for the elders Tayshaun and Miller. The Pacers ended the quarter on a 7-0 run pushing the lead out to 52-70 by the end of the third.

The fourth featured another Jamaal Franklin appearance, Lance celebrating his triple double, and a line-up of Calathes and Conley being put on the floor together, one that I’d love for Joerger to explore. The Pacers made easy work of the Grizzlies however, with Roy and West only playing 25 minutes, with great bench contributions from Nahinmi, Scola and Solomon Hill. The game ended 79-95 and demonstrated that this Grizzlies team is still a work in progress, its offense needs to strengthen which should in turn strengthen its defense, whilst the rotation and lineups still need to be organized.

The Good

Calathes: played well again, and his floating passes that seem so easy to pick off but find their man are a pleasure to watch.

The Pacers: The Pacers seem to be almost an upgraded version of the Grizzlies, and I would love to see them beat Miami in the playoffs, if that’s any silver lining to their dominance in this game.

The Bad

Ed: Played horribly. Box score said he grabbed 7 rebounds but he really couldn’t come close to competing against even the Pacers’ back-up big men. He was brought in during the first seemingly to assist in the Grizzlies’ transition defense, but still appears too thin and slow-footed to provide any presence. His offense was even worse, as he missed his first jumper, bricked a hook over Orlando Johnson, was blocked on an ill advised floater over Hibbert, and lost the ball driving on West. I still believe he can be of worth, but secretly I’m glad we didn’t reached an extension with the Boss.

Offense: The Spurs provided a blueprint for shutting down the Grizzlies last season, and the Pacers seemed to have the entire Grizzlies roster under wraps already. The interior was packed against the starters, whilst left with single coverage when the reserve big men entered. Crisper ball movement was needed, which may have been achieved with off ball movement from the injured Bayless and Pondexter. Calathes has begun to emerge as a great playmaker, and I’d love to see lineups with he and Conley in the future, as Calathes has the size to guard the 2 spot.

(Editor's Note: Thanks to GritGrindGrizAustralia for the fanpost recaps over the past week!)

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FanPosts do not necessarily represent the opinions of myself, and may include questionable or unreliable material.

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