WHERE: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana
WHEN: 6:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Brandan Wright (Out, personal)
INDIANA- Lavoy Allen (Questionable, knee), Thad Young (Questionable, wrist)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
INDIANA- Jeff Teague, Glenn Robinson III, Paul George, Myles Turner, Kevin Seraphin
The trade deadline came and went with a whimper for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Surely the front office kicked the tires on some potential trade targets. But whether the prices were too high, or Memphis simply was not willing to part with key pieces, no moves occurred. The Grizzlies signed Toney Douglas for the rest of the season, likely to be the team’s back-up point guard for the stretch run, and they decided they were content.
This is a team that went 7-3 in their last ten games, after all. And with Brandan Wright returning to full strength and a (hopefully) rejuvenated Chandler Parsons ready to prove some doubters wrong, perhaps having those two key cogs to add to the Grizzlies machine will be enough. Memphis enters their final 24 contests within striking distance of the four seed in the Western Conference (two games out) and is optimistic their best basketball is ahead of them.
As hot as the Grizzlies were to close their pre-All-Star slate, the Pacers were that cold. They went 7-6 over their last 13, but their seven game winning streak was almost canceled out by a six game run of losses to head into the break. Indiana was almost ready to part with their superstar Paul George according to reports leading into the deadline, and at 29-28 the Pacers are fighting for their playoff lives in the Eastern Conference.
One place where the Pacers have had success is at home. Indiana is 20-10 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Grizzlies will have their hands full trying to pick up the victory.
How can they get it done?
The Pacers are 5th in the NBA in total steals. They average 8.4 thefts per game and that opportunistic defense could impact the Grizzlies, who have really struggled at times as of late with turnovers. In their last five games, Memphis has turned the ball over 13, 22, 18, 12, and 15 times. Seeing as how the Grizzlies average only 13.1 turnovers per game this season, two of those performances show a real carelessness with the ball.
Considering the Grizzlies’ scoring struggles, every possessions matters.
Watch the Other Guys
Paul George is one of the very best the NBA has to offer. He is going to have success, especially at home. But an underrated part of the Pacers’ play this season is that of Indiana’s role players. Indiana has eight guys, including George, who average at least eight points a game, and five players who score at least ten per contest. Memphis, by comparison, has seven who average at least eight points per game, but only three who score at least ten per - Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol.
While Paul George is going to get his, the Grizzlies must find a way to limit the success of guys like Jeff Teague, C.J. Miles, and Myles Turner if they hope to pull off a tough road win.
When the Grizzlies have two or more days off this season, they are 2-7. They don’t handle time off very well. Couple that with Indiana being one of eight NBA teams with 20 wins at home already this season, and it’s hard to predict Memphis to pick up this game.
So why go against the grain? Because Chandler Parsons has something to prove. His commitment to improving and to the Grizzlies was essentially called into question in the fallout from his “Chancun” trip, and he has to be tired of the noise surrounding him and distracting his teammates.
The Grizzlies will struggle at times. But Chandler Parsons will help facilitate offense and hit some big shots when needed most to help Memphis steal one against a very good home team in the Pacers. The guy is due. It’s time for “The Chandler Parsons Game”.
Hey, it can happen.
MEMPHIS 105, INDIANA 102