Fittingly, Lance Stephenson gave the Pacers the lead for good after splashing a 3-pointer. The game wasn't yet two minutes old and the score was just 5-3, but the Pacers wouldn't give up the lead the rest of the night.
Stephenson's 13 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds earned him plenty of praise for his first NBA triple-double, but there was more to this win than one guy putting up numbers.
- Roy Hibbert's stat line doesn't look nearly as gaudy, but the big fella set the defensive tone early with six rebounds and four blocks in the fourth quarter.
- George Hill joined Stephenson on the attack early, scoring eight of his 13 points in the first half while outplaying Mike Conley much of the night.
- Paul George shook off a four-point first half to score 13 in the third quarter and give Lance his triple-double by knocking down an open jumper en route to 23 points on the night.
- Luis Scola (12 points) and Ian Mahinmi (10 points) helped supplement the front-court scoring load off the bench.
- And the defense...WOW, the defense. They were absolutely devastating in the third quarter with a frenzied effort that had the Grizzlies throw the ball out of bounds on a pass to no one more than once. At one point, I referred to the Pacers as piranha after Marc Gasol tried to dive on a loose ball only to be left on the floor like a decaying carcass without the ball while Stephenson converted a layup.
But Lance certainly gets the high honors for the effort he turned in against a tough matchup in Tony Allen. After the game, he made sure to mark up his special Veterans Day shoes remember the big night.
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