Zach Randolph (Marion) and Mike Conley (Lawrence North) have a combined four Indiana High School state titles between them and Friday night they combined to help take down Pacers, 107-94.
Conley came out firing for the Memphis Grizzlieswith a couple of 3-pointers to help push the Grizz to an early 20-8 lead over the sluggish Pacers who took their time getting up to game speed. After the Pacers battled back in the second quarter to take a lead at the half, Conley fired up the Grizz in the third quarter by getting his teammates involved and once Memphis took control of the game Conley hit a couple more 3-balls to help seal the deal.
For the game, Conley was 5-6 from 3-land and finished with 19 points and 8 assists continuing his strong play of late. It really is nice to see Conley's game beginning to mature at the NBA level despite the pain inflicted on the Pacers tonight.
Randolph's game on the other hand, provided no pleasure, just pain. Once the Grizz re-asserted themselves in the third quarter by minimizing the perimeter shots and maximizing their interior options, Z-Bo went to work with a few back-breaking and 1 3-point plays. Randolph and Marc Gasol were just way too much for the Pacers to handle, and with Troy Murphy's shot abandoning him the front court mismatch was the difference. Randolph finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds while Gasol chipped in 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The Pacers problems were pretty easy to diagnose. For starters, they didn't bring a consistent level of play for 48 minutes and with the slight margin of error this team carries, simply putting up a big second quarter isn't enough. The other obvious problem was the amount of iron the Pacers rattled. The Pacers have to shoot well to give themselves a chance on most nights. If they don't shoot well, forget it.
3-21 from 3-land? Yeah, forget it.
Seriously, pretend this game didn't happen, it's just not worth the grief. Besides there are more pressing issues to consider, like facing the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night. Hopefully the Pacers find their shooting touch in Texas.