The Pacers had quite a nice turnaround following last night's fairly frustrating preseason affair, edging the Grizzlies with considerable help from their expected playmakers.
With Gerald Green and Ian Mahinmi continuing their solid play in the preseason, it helps to create a lot of optimism about the Pacers second unit the season. Green led the way with 18 points, finding his way onto the highlight reel, and generally coming up with plays when the team was clawing their way back in the fourth quarter. Green has been one of the most consistent Pacers this preseason, which is something of a pleasant surprise when considering the workload Paul George has taken on in addition to Roy Hibbert's quality showcases.
Mahinmi has also been a surprise in his own right, really showcasing his athleticism, in his 13 point and 9 rebound effort. Not only did he play well on his own right, but he looked like a natural fit at the PF position when he and Hibbert shared the floor to close the game. The move not only gave the Pacers size that is tough to deal with, but allows the Pacers to lose one of the bigs from inside while not diminishing the chance of a rebound. Rebounding was a huge key for the Pacers tonight; not only winning 52-40, but being incredibly active around the offensive glass, grabbing 13 of their own.
No one crashed the boards harder than Tyler Hansbrough, who followed up his best preseason game last night with another solid night, pitching in 8 points and a game high 13 boards. The Pacers front court accounted for 42 of the team's 52 boards, with Hansbrough, Mahinmi, and Hibbert totaling 32 of those. Hibbert's 14 & 10 effort was textbook; patient and effective, with a key deflection to prevent a Grizzlies prayer at the end of the game.
Paul George continued to struggle shooting with a 4-14 night, but with the green light in the preseason, one can only hope this is a short term slump that can work its way out with...well, more shooting. D.J. Augustin was fairly invisible most of the game, but made some key plays in the second half to give the Pacers momentum. Lance Stephenson was up and down most of the night, shooting poorly, but finding his way around the glass with 5 boards.
The Pacers shooting was a problem all night, with the team shooting 36.1%. The Grizzlies didn't fair much better, only shooting 37% themselves. The Pacers had just 10 assists on their 30 FGs, but given the work the Pacers did on the glass, this number isn't a huge surprise, but Indiana did continue to get caught with turnovers, committing 18 while Memphis had just 7. Sometimes shots don't fall, creating a positive and negative effect on other lines and parts of the game, but ball control isn't something that is affected by being hot or cold and Indiana's constant turnovers have been one of the most glaring problems with this ball club so far in the preseason.
A bright effort really helped make tonight's first televised game a joy to watch, and the Pacers kept the hope alive for a perfect weekend at the Fieldhouse with the Indiana Fever hosting Game 4 of the WNBA Finals tomorrow. The Pacers themselves will return to action Tuesday in Cleveland to face the Cavaliers.