The Pacers tipped off preseason action in Memphis against the Grizzlies, but managed to come up short on the scoreboard despite the team’s best efforts. Unfortunately, lack of television broadcast and inconsistent radio feed for those outside of WIBC’s range found they had to experience the game without those advanced media formats, being forced to trek through ancient methods such as internet blogs and live updating box scores, not unlike those who lived in Victorian England.
The game was one of runs. As Memphis took the lead on a 13-2 run in the second quarter, Indiana responded with a 14-2 run of their own after the half. The Grizzlies regained control in the fourth quarter, building a nine-point lead with less than three and a half minutes to play, and Indiana responded with a furious run that fell a point short and struggled to rebound when they had to.
Since the game itself is irrelevant, there’s no sense in wasting time getting to what matters: the performance of the team. Before we look at the games ever Pacer who took the floor put forth tonight, some team thoughts:
Rebounding could be a major issue this year indeed. The Pacers, despite pulling down 13 offensive boards, couldn’t keep up with Memphis's defensive rebounding effort, losing the overall battle 49-34
Shooting was also a large problem for this game. The team shot 38% from the field and only 62% from the line. Tack on a 9-29 shooting effort from beyond the arc, and it really isn’t so hard to find a couple of points to make this game a W. Such shooting could make the road a difficult place to play again.
Team effort appeared to be tremendous, especially in regards to Hibbert, McRoberts, and George. There's a lot to be taken from the positives of that kind of effort.
After the jump, breakdowns of every Pacer in this game, courtesy of the great Cornrows community and NBA.com’s in depth highlights and box scores!
- Danny Granger struggled all night finding his shooting stroke, finishing an abysmal 1-9 with only 5 points. He managed to get 5 rebounds, and appeared to do some extra things to help the team out. It’s hard to take a lot from him having an off night, as these things do happen from time to time. Keep an eye on him Friday, however.
- Darren Collison, if for one night, lived up to his expectations as a legitimate NBA point guard. He made plays that involved his teammates and even found time to throw in his own material into the highlight reel. It’s difficult to say whether O’Brien’s system is or isn’t agreeing with Collison, but a workable debut doesn’t hurt.
- Roy Hibbert had a tremendous outing, finishing a double double 18-10. Many questions about Roy’s ability to push 36 minutes a night were answered as Roy played a team high 31 minutes, and finished with four fouls and a wonderful 7-9 shooting.
- Josh McRoberts may have been the biggest surprise. When O’Brien said Josh was the most impressive in camp, he certainly intended that to mean what it sounded like. Josh’s trademark energy was on display, but valuable contributions in a statistical sense were also a huge part of the night. As if the starting job wasn’t Josh’s to lose before the game, then it certainly is now.
- Mike Dunleavy started the first quarter and made some nice "Hey, this is the Mike Dunleavy we’ve grown accustomed to" plays and shots. Dunleavy didn’t get much, if any second half reps, leading everyone to wonder: why does the NBA allow games to be played that cannot be viewed? Fortunately, it seems there’s no health concern right now.
- Paul George was huge. Despite struggling offensively, he was one of the team’s biggest contributors from a hustle standpoint, giving the Grizzlies fits defensively, even doing all he could to try and get the Pacers the victory at the end of the game. George started the second half, certainly answering some questions as to his place within the rotation at this point.
- Brandon Rush seems to be falling in the rotation, as he got nine minutes of action, and as expected, made marginal impact in those nine minutes, scoring just four points on three shots.
- A.J. Price showed his scoring touch wasn’t lost on his injury, scoring 12 points in just under 15 minutes. He also showed his game hadn’t evolved into a more traditional point guard style; that is if his 0 assists weren’t already an indication to that.
- Lance Stephenson got some action towards the end of the game at the PG position and found himself outclassed defensively by Mike Conley. It appears defense is a huge issue for Lance at this point, it’d be nice to get it sorted out, but not a day goes by where I’m not increasingly skeptical about his ability to play the point.
- Solomon Jones almost disappointed just as much as Josh McRoberts impressed. In a last man standing tryout session, Price and McBobs played well, and Solo’s lack of impact certainly didn’t help his case of keeping his job with Indiana.
- Jeff Foster got five minutes of action, took a hard hit, and saw his night come to an early close. It’s simply good to see him back on the floor, if I could have seen him take the floor.
- Magnum Rolle was limited in time and his offerings were limited, but he did manage to find three of the team’s offensive rebounds.
- James Posey offered a three pointer and a pair of boards in his limited action.
- Dahntay Jones got to the line six times, but didn’t hit any of his five field goal attempts. Which raises the question, do we need both Posey and D.Jones?
Friday’s game is on FS Indiana and Saturday’s game on NBA TV. Basically, that means you’ll soon be able to watch the Pacers play basketball. Deeper insights on the players will be offered then, but in the meantime, it’s simply good to have the Pacers back in action!