There wasn’t much in the way of defense between the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies tonight, a thought that would be foreign to both franchises in years’ past, but the Pacers did manage to come through with just enough success on that end of the floor to pick up their third straight win. Indiana didn’t let up offensively against the Grizzlies however, shooting 54.3% from the floor and hit a season best 18 threes, helping them total 126 points.
Leading 14-12 after the first timeout of the game, the Pacers suddenly found themselves behind. A T.J. Warren three a minute into the game was ruled out of bounds instead, and two Grizzlies baskets put Memphis ahead 16-11 halfway through the quarter. The Pacers would respond, cleaning up a sloppy start to the game, going on a 15-2 run to put them up by eight.
Warren picked up his scoring punch after his two point night against Orlando, scoring 10 points, all after his initial three was wiped from the board. The second unit, led by Justin Holiday and Aaron Holiday, pushed Indiana’s lead to 15 early to open the second, the brothers starting out 4-4 from three point range.
The success offensively was not a catalyst to defensive success for the Pacers after jumping ahead by 15 as Jaren Jackson Jr. helped cut the lead back in half, over the next couple of minutes. Jackson finished with a game high 28 for the Grizzlies, including 6-8 from three point range, going to work against both Domantas Sabonis and Goga Bitadze, the latter of which got him back on a nice block.
The starting unit picked up the load late in the second thanks in large part to Jeremy Lamb. Lamb went scoreless in the first quarter, but with the Pacers up just seven in the second, he put in six points as part of an 11-2 run that expanded the lead to 16. Even still, the Grizzlies inched back into the game, scoring the final five of the half, but Myles Turner helped limit the Memphis comeback attempt with a pair of blocks on Ja Morant late in the quarter.
Lamb opened the third quarter with five points himself, kickstarting another another lengthy Pacers run of 12-2 to push the lead to 21. Those runs, helped along by just enough success on the defensive end, were crucial in helping the Pacers build their leads over the Grizzlies, but it was their offense that helped maintain it when Memphis was able to get anything they wanted on their offensive end.
One particular stretch in the third saw both teams hit three pointers on five straight possessions, Warren and Lamb stepping up to respond to a pair of Jackson threes. Memphis would bring the game to within 16, but even T.J. McConnell got in on the three point game, hitting his first of the year to guide the Pacers to a 10-5 run to close the third, including a buzzer-beating teardrop to end the quarter.
The best video you'll find on the internet tonight pic.twitter.com/doc7iMtH6P— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) November 26, 2019
A. Holiday would start the fourth with a pair of effortless threes of his own (each assisted by McConnell) to push the lead to 29 points, helping wrap up the 126-114 victory. In the win, the Pacers shot just one percentage point shy of their season high (set on Saturday against Orlando). Despite losing the turnover battle 13-9, they managed to outscore the Grizzlies 20-13 in points off turnovers.
That success helped overcome some less than exciting prospects, namely the generally poor defense throughout the night, allowing the Grizzlies to shoot a relatively easy 13-29 from deep, nine of which coming from Jackson and Jae Crowder. The Pacers also shot just 10 free throws, piling things on with four in the final quarter. Prior to which, Sabonis was the only Pacer who got to the line, splitting his six attempts.
Sabonis finished with a 13 point, 13 rebound double double, but struggled extensively on the defensive end when asked to play the four. The success inside with Turner was a fair bit better, however. Turner had five blocks on the game, but was interestingly effective against longtime nemesis Jonas Valanciunas early. Despite Valanciunas’s usual activity inside, he had just six points and four rebounds in the first half. Sabonis was help here as well, but the ability to limit Valanciunas early helped them build up a 47-40 rebounding edge for the game.
Warren would end up leading Indiana’s season high in points with 26 on 11-15 shooting. Even despite having his first three taken off the board, he put in a season best three on the night, helping compliment his tremendous scoring touch closer to the basket, where he was 8-9 from within the free throw line.
As effortless as Warren can make scoring, Lamb is in that same mold, scoring 19 points on 8-16 shooting in his second night back. Lamb got there despite a slow start to the game, scoring his first points just past the halfway point of the second quarter. For as much as Indiana has found success short-handed, health appears to also suit them well, alleviating a scoring load from Malcolm Brogdon, who had 14 points himself with eight assists.
Off the bench, the Pacers were again led by the Holiday Bros. The pair went a combined 7-11 from three point range, totaling 25 points, led by Aaron with 16. Holiday’s three pointers to open the fourth were bursting with confidence, playing extremely well off of McConnell’s playmaking abilities. He would find the Holidays on four of his six assists, going full craft-mode as part of his 11 points.
The win puts Indiana at 10-6 on the year, a big win to pick up against a young, but dangerous Grizzlies team. Given the slow start and the injuries, the Pacers have really done a tremendous job navigating a favorable early schedule that will only get more difficult from here, starting Wednesday when the Pacers host Bojan Bogdanovic and the Utah Jazz.