Pacers Bounce Back Against Grizzlies, Win 134-116

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - This matchup featured two teams who were experiencing significant contrast in recent results. The Memphis Grizzlies had a seven-game winning streak while the Indiana Pacers lost their previous two games. 

It didn't take long for the Pacers to take control of this matchup. Hot perimeter shooting helped Indiana to jump out a 6-0 lead and from that point on, the Grizzlies never tied or took the lead. In fact, Memphis never even came within five-points again. 

“Our guys come out fighting, whether it’s a back-to-back or not,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said. “We’ll be ready to play.” 

Indiana managed to go 15-of-23 (65.2%) from the field and 5-of-9 (55.6%) from the perimeter during the opening period -- resulting in 37 points. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies were contained to just 27 points on underwhelming shooting figures. 

It was more of the same from both teams in the second quarter. The Pacers used a 15-point frame from Domantas Sabonis along with strong overall execution on both ends to outscore the Grizzlies by a 34-23 margin. 

There simply was no answer from the Grizzlies for the physical presence Sabonis provided in the paint. He finished the opening half with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists while going 10-of-11 (90.9%) from the field. When coupled with 9-of-19 (47.4%) three-point shooting as a unit, the Pacers were too much for Memphis to handle. 

The Pacers' first half performance was easily their best of the season so far. They scored a season-high 71 points while holding the Grizzlies to just 50 points. Indiana needed to just preserve the lead they had established during the second half. 

The margin for error for the Grizzlies became far too thin to be able to overcome. Memphis outscored the Pacers in the second half but did so by just a measly three-point margin -- coming nowhere close to threatening Indiana's advantage. 

It was encouraging for the Pacers to put the Grizzlies away for good in the second half. In Indiana's previous outing, they held a 20-point lead over the 76ers but allowed a game-changing 21-2 run in the final period -- resulting in a loss.

“It was important, especially after the last game,” Domantas Sabonis said. “We felt like we gave it away. So, we just wanted to come out and play a whole 48 minutes.”

The Grizzlies went with a 3-2 zone at times throughout this game but it wasn't successful. The personnel simply isn't there to pose issues for the Pacers like they encountered against the 76ers. Philadelphia has two elite wing defenders with length in Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle while Memphis sorely lacks that. 

This performance from the Pacers featured truly sensational offensive results. Indiana's 134 points outpaced their previous season-high by a whole five-points and they went 49-of-82 (59.2%) from the field and 16-of-29 (55.2%) from deep. 

The regular star contributors executed at a high-level for the Pacers. Most dominant of all was Domantas Sabonis, who finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. He attempted 15 shots from the field and missed only two. 

Sabonis' frontcourt partner, Myles Turner, provided a highly impressive 22 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and five blocks in this game. Turner was 9-of-13 (69.2%) on field goal attempts and 3-of-6 (50.0%) from beyond the arc. 

Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb each filled key roles on the perimeter for the Pacers. Brogdon provided 23 points and seven assists while Lamb wasn't far behind with 19 points of his own. 

Seemingly everything was clicking for the Pacers in this game from shot making to getting stops. It was a timely performance for a team that was entering with a two-game losing streak. Indiana will aim to use this win to establish momentum going forward. 

The Pacers return to action on Wednesday when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. 

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