PreGame Chatter: Pacers vs. Grizzlies
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers will enter Tuesday's matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies on a two-game losing streak.
In the Pacers' previous outing, they played at a high-level against the 76ers for most of the matchup, but ended up blowing a 20-point lead. Philadelphia completely changed the momentum of the game by turning to a 2-3 zone in the fourth-quarter and won 119-110.
The Grizzlies have experienced plenty of success in the win column as of late -- entering Tuesday's matchup on a seven-game winning streak. Memphis won in convincing fashion in their previous game as they defeated the San Antonio Spurs with 113-102 being the final score.
Both teams currently rank fifth in their respective conferences. The Grizzlies could continue to build on the impressive momentum they've established as of late. Meanwhile, the Pacers need a win to avoid slipping to a three-game losing streak.
Here is what Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren told reporters prior to tip-off against the Grizzlies:
Matching Up With the Grizzlies
When taking on a team like the Grizzlies, it's not easy to stop them because of how they play as a cohesive unit. What sticks out most about Memphis as a matchup from an opponent's perspective?
"If you watched them play last night in San Antonio, they're moving the ball, they're playing free, they're playing together. They can score it in the paint, score it from the perimeter. Point guards are shifty. They're playing well on both ends of the floor."
Slowing Down Ja Morant
The Grizzlies have gotten off to a strong start to the 2020-21 NBA season and while Ja Morant has missed plenty of games due to injury, he's been a critical factor in their success. How can the Pacers slow him down?
"Make sure our transition defense is first and foremost. We have to sprint back and take away the easy ones, so Morant can't attack the rim, can't get to the paint, and can't spray it out to shooters or drop it off to their bigs. So we have to be great early in our defense."
Getting Over Loss to Sixers
After holding a 20-point lead late in the third quarter, the Pacers ended up losing to the 76ers on Sunday. It's a 72-game season for a reason and Indiana is certainly not dwelling on it.
"That was a long time ago to me. That's a long time ago to me. That ended to me the day that film session and that practice ended. Just talked about getting better in a lot of areas."
Stacking Up With the Grizzlies' Defense
While slowing down Ja Morant offensively is no easy task, the Grizzlies' defense is arguably an even greater threat. Memphis ranks among the NBA's best in many defensive categories and the Pacers will need to be ready to execute.
"They're up there in a number of categories and steals is one of them. We have to be strong with the ball. That starts with the pace on the offensive end for us. Cutting harder, screening better, attacking and playing through hits better, so all of those things are a part of taking care of the ball and being stronger with the ball to get our opponent on their heels."