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Preview: Grizzlies head to Indy to face beat-up Pacers

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Season
1-0 (0-0 road)
1-0 (1-0 home)
October 31, 2014
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Donald Sloan
Courtney Lee SG C.J. Miles
Tony Allen
SF Chris Copeland
Zach Randolph PF Luis Scola
Marc Gasol C Roy Hibbert
2014/15 Advanced Stats
99.0 (T-7th) Pace 97.8 (T-9th)
107.4 (10th) OEff 105.8 (11th)
100.9 (13th) DEff 92.7 (7th)

Grizzlies vs Pacers coverage

Opponent's Blog: Indy Cornrows

Know Your Opponent

This has been a rough offseason for Pacers fans.  Roy Hibbert and the team faded hard down the stretch last year, the versatile and possibly clinically insane Lance Stephenson departed via free agency, and superstar-in-the-making Paul George suffered a gruesome leg injury that has him out for the year.   As a result, a team that thrived on wing play last year will be rolling this motley crew into Banker's Life Fieldhouse:

Points of Grizzly Emphasis

Pound the rock

The svelter Marc Gasol showed up to dominate opening night, and perhaps contract year Marc will continue to be the aggressive player we've all dreamed of.  If so, look out, NBA.  While Gasol v. Hibbert should be a fun matchup to watch, Z-Bo should be able to take Luis Scola to the bucket at will, so he could put up big scoring numbers on the night.

Bench press

Tony Allen and Courtney Lee each played over 30 minutes opening night, while Quincy Pondexter and Vince Carter logged just 11 and 16, respectively.  Over the course of the season, I'd expected them all to end up in the 20-26 range, so look for those minutes to possibly even out a bit.  Tayshaun Prince took a DNP for the first time in a very long time, and it will be interesting to see when and how Joerger works him into the game.

Overall, on a team many expected to be the deepest Grizzlies roster in years, the bench chipped in a grand total of 10 points opening night.  This is due in some part to a heavy preponderance of minutes to jump shooters, who tend to be streaky scorers.  Whether by mixing personnel better (e,g. more Koufos) or a change in the rotation (e.g. Calathes returning from suspension), the bench will have to be much more productive as the season wears on.

The Grind

This is one of many games through the season the Grizzlies "should win" on paper.  Of course, Wednesday night's game against the Wolves was another and it got uncomfortably close, and these Grizzlies have had a tendency to play down to the level of struggling teams in the past few years.  For the Grizzlies to be an elite team, they have to grind through and show up to play against every team, including one as injury-riddled as the Pacers.

Why you should watch this game

This is a matchup of two of the best defensive teams of the past few years.  It will be interesting to see if the Grizzlies' offensive pace (7th in the league! Take a picture before we're last again!) and productivity from opening night stick around, or if this will turn into a traditional Grizzlies-Pacers fistfight in the mud.