There wasn’t much of a difference between the last time the Memphis Grizzlies drubbed the Indiana Pacers and tonight as Memphis closed out the win in the opening minutes against a hapless Indiana squad. Memphis opened the game with the first 10 points and led 17-2 less than four minutes into it.
A strong quarter from Terry Taylor at least kept them within 20 for most of the quarter, but an onslaught of three point shooting from the Grizzlies came down like an avalanche on the Pacers with the opening period wrapping up 44-23 Grizzlies. Memphis hit 10-18 from three point range, holding Indiana to just 33% overall.
For a fleeting moment, it appeared as if the Pacers might come away with a second quarter victory when Tyrese Haliburton broke away on a steal.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, Memphis poured in five more threes in the quarter, including three from Desmond Bane to lift Memphis to 74 first half point, equaling their total from last Tuesday. Bane once again made life miserable for the Pacers, scoring 23 first half points on a staggering 9-10 shooting with five threes.
Memphis went ahead and scored the first 10 points of the second half just because they could, getting an and-one from Bane courtesy of Steven Adams laying on the floor. Bane had seven more in the third to finish the night with a game high 30 all in 24 minutes of action.
Through three quarters, the Pacers had just two double figure scorers. Taylor rode his nine point first quarter to put up 14 through three while Goga Bitadze was Indiana’s most effective scorer, also reaching 14, living at the free throw line, hitting 8-11 with four rebounds and two blocks. Taylor would finish with 17 points, pulling in five boards.
Lance Stephenson finished the night with a team high 25 points, going 5-5 from three in the quarter to help Indiana to their only quarter victory of the night in the fourth, only helping them to a 30-point loss. Oshae Brissett (13 points), Justin Anderson (10 points, nine rebounds), and Buddy Hield (11 points) each reached double figures, all blocking two shots.
Indiana’s tremendous success in turning assists into buckets didn’t come through tonight. The Pacers had just 14 assists heading into the fourth before finishing with 20. The lack of shooting no doubt hurt, especially when they shot just 3-25 from three point range through three quarters before opening up in the fourth with six makes. Haliburton had eight of those, finishing with nine points.
As much as losses help the Pacers in maintaining a potential top five pick, there’s nothing about games like this that are enjoyable to watch. From Memphis’s perspective, this was a great showing after a massive win last night against Brooklyn, but for the Pacers to show no progress in their matchup with Memphis is especially disappointing, allowing the Grizzlies a season high 21 made threes.
The Pacers will head north to finish off their two game road trip against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. Despite being the fourth game of the season series between the team, it’s first since November as both teams have gone in completely different directions.