Pacers drop home opener, fall to 0-2 on the season


Last night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Grizzlies came away with a win to send the Indiana Pacers winless through two for the first time since 2009.

Disappointing – that’s how I would rate Indiana’s performance as they let a slim third quarter lead roll into a 9-point loss when all was said and done. The officiating, though awful (Scott Foster crew), cannot justify a 3-17 start from the field as the offense struggled to get going in the opening minutes.

The two teams traded decent quarters, Memphis in the first, Indiana in the second, and the Grizz went into halftime up just one point. At this point, many weren’t thrilled with the way Indiana was playing but far too much was being read into three full halves of basketball.

However, the final twelve minutes was the most disappointing as the Pacers saw a two point lead turn sour, and fast, in the fourth quarter.

Almost every time down the floor, Memphis was converting. There was a blip where George Hill scored four straight before Paul George drilled a three to restore the lead, but it was short lived. Jeff Green hit a three, Marc Gasol and Monta Ellis traded buckets, and Green hit another three to make it a seven-point game and push it out of the Pacers reach.

The Good
Paul George was able to post 18 points and 8 boards, and though he wasn’t the most efficient player on the floor by any means, his contributions kept Indiana in the game late on. George Hill had a game-high 20 points on 6-15 shooting and allowed the Pacers to keep fighting until near the end.

The biggest spot, though? Pacers rookie Myles Turner. He was outstanding from the get-go and clearly showed that when he is healthy he should be backing up, and maybe even starting over, Ian Mahinmi as the season progresses.

Turner impressed with a couple of jab steps and baby turnarounds near the paint and showed his offensive and defensive versatility with two steals and one block. One stat that isn’t on the box score is his demoralizing rejection of Mike Conley‘s shot, but the whistle had already gone.

In fact, the Pacers bench unit was solid – putting up 41 points on 16-23 shooting.

The Bad
A prerequisite to reading the rest of this paragraph: it has only been two games. There is so much time left in the season that it would be foolish to judge a player solely off sixty minutes of action.

Monta Ellis was not great again. After posting 3-11 against Toronto, he was 3-12 against Memphis and struggled to find a groove. He made a couple of important buckets in the fourth quarter, but all-in-all was pretty poor as the offense looks to establish proper spacing.

The shooting from the starters as a whole was very poor. Without Ian Mahinmi’s 5-7 shooting, the other four were 16-48 (33.3%) from the field and just 6-20 from the 3-point line.

The defense wasn’t perfect, either, and especially in the fourth quarter.

Game Notes

  • The Grizzlies won the rebounding battle by slim margins, 42-38
  • The visitors also forced more turnovers as the Pacers gave it away 20 times
  • Memphis nearly doubled up on Indy in points in the paint, 48-26
  • Joe Young did not feature – coach’s decision

The Pacers return to the floor at home on Saturday against the Utah Jazz, tipoff scheduled for 7 pm ET.

Next: Pacers Roundtable: Eight Thoughts on the Season Ahead

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