WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
BETTING INFORMATION (per DraftKings) - Memphis (-12), O/U 235.5
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant (Out, knee), Killian Tillie (Out, knee)
INDIANA: Tyrese Haliburton (Questionable, back), Isaiah Jackson (Questionable, concussion), Chris Duarte (Questionable, toe), Jalen Smith (Questionable, illness), Myles Turner (Out, foot), T.J. Warren (Out, foot), T.J. McConnell (Out, wrist), Ricky Rubio (Out, knee)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
INDIANA: Tyrese Haliburton, Malcolm Brogdon, Buddy Hield, Oshae Brissett, Goga Bitadze
The Grizzlies have a quick turnaround following last night’s win against the Brooklyn Nets on ESPN. The Grizzlies jumped out to an 18-point lead but Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were phenomenal in the second half to get Brooklyn back in the game. The Grizzlies were able to respond and pull away with the win thanks to a strong 4th quarter. Next up for Memphis? The Indiana Pacers
Thankfully for Memphis, the Indiana Pacers don’t have anyone of Durant or Irving’s caliber. No win is guaranteed in the NBA, however, and here are some keys for Memphis against the Pacers tonight.
No ESPN hangover
The Grizzlies spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday with the ESPN crew as part of ESPN’s All Access day with the Grizzlies yesterday. It was a well deserved experience and something the team should 100% enjoy and appreciate. That said, that was yesterday and today is a new day and there is no time to look back and reflect. The Pacers record isn’t great, and they suck on the road, but Tyrese Haliburton has been great since being acquired by Indiana from Sacramento and his ability alone is enough to worry the Grizzlies.
The Pacers did play last night, a loss against the Sacramento Kings, so they’ll likely be tired after having to travel to Memphis late last night. The Grizzlies need to come out strong early and stay focused on the present and not allow the last few days affect their focus tonight.
Own the paint
The Grizzlies have been the best paint team in the NBA all season long, leading the NBA in points in the paint. Ja Morant plays a big role in that, but the team as a whole is great at attacking the basket. The Pacers, even after trading Domantas Sabonis, have been great in then paint as well. Both teams are top 5 in the NBA in points in the paint since the All-Star Break, with the Grizzlies having a sizable 8 point lead in the category.
Steven Adams should be able to feast the boards and get second chance opportunities going up against Goga and Isaiah Jackson, while Tyus Jones, Brandon Clarke and the floater gang should be able to get those shots off as well. The winner of the paint battle could ultimately be the winner of the game.
The Grizzlies are simply a much better team than the Indiana Pacers. With it being a back-to-back, it’ll be interesting to see who ultimately suits up tonight for Indy. Tyrese Haliburton played 37 minutes last night despite being questionable with a back injury. It’s entirely possible the Pacers rest him, especially considering they are already eliminated from the playoffs and the focus has shifted towards the future and the NBA Draft Lottery. Chris Duarte didn’t play last night, and Isaiah Jackson played only 7 minutes in his return from a concussion.
The Pacers may be inclined to play the rookies more than the more established players in Haliburton, but could also be cautious with their health. Malcolm Brogdon figures to play after sitting last night due to rest. Honestly, even if all the questionable guys play I don’t think they are a match for the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies will win, but the gambling aspect is always tricky against bad teams. The Grizzlies should cover but 12 points is a sizable line, and the offense has been flowing enough to feel good about the over on their end. The question will be if the Pacers can score enough for the over to hit.
Betting the under isn’t as fun, but is probably the safer play as I expect the Grizzlies to pull away from the Pacers early. The Grizzlies won 135-102 just over a week ago, which would have covered but barely hit the over for tonight’s matchup.
Memphis 122, Indiana 100