Move over, there’s nothing to see or almost! Pacers fans and their players had a rough night tonight in Indianapolis. Myles Turner didn’t want to protect the perimeter, they joined the Grizzlies festival, they quickly took the match and never let go.
Awkward from distance early in the game, Taylor Jenkins’ men successfully shot the racket and also used great defensive consistency to explode in transition and (already) hurt the circle.
It all started with an alley-oop between Ja Morant and Ziaire Williams, which the guard capped off with a two-handed dunk on the counterattack. Then there was a huge layup from Steven Adams, followed by a dunk from a still-in-transition Santi Aldama to put his team back up +8 (26-34) near the end of the first period.
Chris Duarte and Andrew Nembhard’s 3-pointers kept the pressure on for a short time and Indiana even went ahead (40-38). A 10-2 run, then a 14-2 run, the Memphis offense was quickly washed away, fueled by the entire collective, from the trio of Morant-Bain-Jackson to Ziaire Williams or David Roddy. This time the Pacers got a good result before the break (52-68).
After returning from the locker room, the Grizzlies looked to keep the pressure going to avoid a tight end of the game. Then it was an absolutely insane streak of three consecutive dunks and two alley-oops, capped off by a memorable layup from Ja Morant that broke the locals (71-91).
The Tennessee Voltigeurs successfully completed their mission and the two teams were able to share a dozen minutes of “garbage time” to end the match with a final score (112-130).
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– All is well for Memphis. These Grizzlies-dominated games are a boon for Taylor Jenkins. They let their stars rotate at the end of the match to rest their stars but also to get everyone involved. Again tonight, no player played more than 30 minutes and eight scored 8 or more points. An advantage that may be important in a few months…
– A happy homecoming for Desmond Bane. Born in Richmond, an hour east of Indianapolis, the regional stage didn’t disappoint the many fans who made the short trip to support him. The guard highlighted his best game since returning from injury with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.
Ja Morant was scary again tonight. Because he goes to the coals with almost every move, and Grizzlies fans had to cross their fingers that he would get back up after every fall. Not only does the leader stand up, but he manages to fly, as he did several times tonight.
A very special mention for this exceptional dunk crushed in front of Jalen Smith.
✅ Ja Morant. He has nothing to envy Marsupilami in this match as he repeatedly took off with amazing ease. Impressively comfortable on his drives, he also dished out 10 assists to accompany his 23 points in just 25 minutes of play.
✅ Jackson Jr-Adams pair. While Indiana struggled to protect its offense in the absence of Myles Turner, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Steven Adams helped lock down their offense by finishing as the game’s top rebounders. The fact that Indiana also struggled on the 3-point shot made things easier for the Grizzlies.
✅ Chris Duarte. It’s nice to see him back at this level, having topped 15 points just once before a game since the start of the season. We found the quick and skilled Chris Duarte from distance, who was practically the only one on the Pacers side in this one. A match that will boost his confidence.
⛔️Aaron Nesmith. Sick, the player was unspectacular… and he probably should have stayed neutral on his production: 0-of-8 behind the arc, 6 points on 2-of-13 shooting, including 7 rebounds and 1 assist. He would almost certainly make Oshae Brissett and 0/6 look like a minor player…
Indiana (23-21): The Pacers begin a four-game road trip this Monday (8:30 p.m.) in Milwaukee.
Memphis (29-13): The Grizzlies will target 10e A straight win at Phoenix’s reception for MLK Day on Monday (midnight).