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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers Game Preview

The Grizzlies won yesterday. Can they win today too?

Memphis Grizzlies v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (6-13, 3-9 home) vs. Indiana Pacers (12-7, 3-5 away)

WHEN: 7:00 PM CT

WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis


MEMPHIS- Ja Morant (Out, back), Kyle Anderson (Out, heel), Brandon Clarke (Out, hip), Jonas Valanciunas (Questionable, illness)

INDIANA- Victor Oladipo (Out, knee), JaKarr Sampson (Out, back), Edmond Sumner (Out, hand)


MEMPHIS- Tyus Jones, Dillon Brooks, Jae Crowder, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valanciunas (?)

INDIANA- Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner

The Memphis Grizzlies had no business winning their matinee game with the Timberwolves yesterday. Yet here we are - behind a massive Dillon Brooks performance and a strong bench showing, the undermanned Grizzlies knocked off a team in postseason contention in Minnesota on their home floor. Former Grizzlies coach and all-around good guy Hubie Brown often speaks of 5-10 games every year that you can simply expect to lose, just because you don’t “have it” that night. It’s weird - and sort of fun - to be that, at least somewhat intentionally, for once.

“Oh, a tough loss to a bad team...but those will happen”.

Cheers, to a playoff dream differed but a “fun competitive bad” team dream coming to fruition!

The Grizzlies return home to FedExForum tonight to complete the second night of a back to back, taking on an Indiana Pacers squad that beat them by double digits literally one week ago in Indiana. The Pacers, like Minnesota, are in the hunt for postseason success, and Indiana, like the Wolves, could be ripe for the upset if they don’t take the scrappy Grizzlies seriously. Make no mistake, Memphis isn’t tanking - they’re doing their best to win every game. The talent and experience gap between them and most other NBA squads at this stage of the rebuild is so vast that most nights, the Grizzlies simply cannot compete for a full 48 minute game.

And yet, on some nights, they do. Here’s how they can do it again tonight.

Jaren the superstar

Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Especially with Ja Morant out for the next few weeks, fellow franchise cornerstone Jaren Jackson Jr. needs to carry more of the load for the Grizzlies. This isn’t fair, of course, to ask of one of the youngest 2nd year players in the NBA. For Memphis to compete, however, they will look to more contributions from Jaren in all facets of the game. The good news? The last time these squads faced off Jaren dominated the Pacers offensively, hitting six (!!!) three pointers and scoring 28 points. So offensively, another good night for JJJ should be realistic.

Where he has room to grow is defensively. 5 personal fouls, 0 blocks or steals, and a Pacers team that shot over 54% from the floor. Jackson Jr. must be the defensive anchor for the Grizzlies to have a chance, and he cannot allow foul issues to limit his effectiveness on that end.

Speaking of stepping up...

Who replaces Brandon Clarke?

Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Brandon Clarke was questionable heading in to last night’s game with a hip issue, and he left the contest/did not return. Now, Brandon will not play in this game. Clarke is having an elite offensive season in terms of efficiency in his rookie campaign, and that was especially true last Monday against these same Pacers. Brandon scored 17 points on 8-9 shooting, including a made three, and in terms of production off the bench no Grizzly has been more impactful for Memphis than Clarke.

So with him out, who steps up?

Bruno Caboclo and Solomon Hill were the answers in Minnesota, and they both took the opportunity for more playing time and ran with it. Another productive effort to replace what Clarke provides in the aggregate will be needed to pull off another upset.

The Prediction

Memphis Grizzlies v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Grizzlies will be short handed again tonight. Even if Jonas Valanciunas returns for Memphis from illness, with Clarke out in terms of available players that becomes a wash. Combine that with the fact that Memphis is playing the second night of a back to back, against a superior team that is well rested (comparatively speaking), and the Grizzlies will drop this one.

Indiana 120, Memphis 109

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