An inter-conference meeting between the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies closes out the week at the FedExForum on Sunday. The Pacers have won three of their last four games, including back-to-back victories over the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves. They’ll try to keep the wins coming when going head-to-head with a Grizzlies team that recently had their four-game winning streak snapped in an overtime loss to the New York Knicks.
Bench saves the PacersThe Pacers looked sluggish to the point where it seemed like they might have run out of gas from their 141-point scoring night against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Their starters struggled in Friday’s meeting with the Orlando Magic to the point where the reserves had to come off the bench and save the day.
Aaron Holiday finished with a team-high 20 points, while Doug McDermott followed up with 19 points of his own. There’s a good chance it would have been back to losing for the Pacers if those two didn’t step up.
Every game counts with the team barely clinging to life in the playoff picture. Dropping a loss on the road to a team like the Magic isn’t something they can afford doing right now. However, if the poor shooting lingers on Sunday, it could be lights out early against the Grizzlies.
Memphis is soaring right now on an offensive spark that has them averaging 128 points in their last three games. It’s the second-highest average in that span of games in the league. I wouldn’t expect that to change with the Pacers allowing an average 47 percent shooting this season. This isn’t the same team that cracked the top-10 in defensive efficiency last year.
The Pacers need to continue to answer the call offensively. Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert and Malcolm Brogdon are all on the floor together. They have to start putting the pieces together and winning games against other potential playoff contenders. It’s either that or risk becoming a one-and-done experiment after the season.
Grizzlies hot streak is for realThere’s no better way to test an offensive hot streak than going face-to-face with the league’s No. 1-ranked scoring defense. The Grizzlies stood chin-to-chin with a Knicks team allowing an average 104.5 points per game and heaped 129 points on the scoreboard in New York.
And they still lost.
They weren’t able to pull it out in the end despite continuing their ongoing scoring barrage of 116-plus points in their last five games. Another performance like that at home would go a long way in helping them fend off the visiting Pacers. Of course, I wouldn’t hold my breath with the team sitting at 16th in offensive efficiency. Everybody is having fun seeing shots go into the basket right now, but it’s only a matter of time before it’s back to the same middle-of-the-road offensive production.
The important thing is the Grizzlies keeping the run alive long enough to dig their toes in as a playoff contender. Ja Morant and company need to keep their focus on being better defensively. That’s the one area on the floor that’ll carry them to the Promised Land quicker. They clearly haven’t done that with the team allowing 112-plus points in their last three straight games. Those are the kinds of struggles that could really benefit a team like Indiana.
Jonas Valanciunas has to beat Sabonis on the boards, while also taking advantage of scoring opportunities with Turner out for this game. The big man needs to help bring this one home for the Grizzlies.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Pacers are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Pacers are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Pacers are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games as an underdog.
- Pacers are 6-16 ATS in their last 22 games overall.
- Grizzlies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Grizzlies are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
- Grizzlies are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Grizzlies are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Not even the New York Knicks could stop the ongoing hot streak from the Grizzlies.
Even in a loss, the Tennessee-based team still hung 129 points on the scoreboard in the Big Apple. Now, they’ll be back in good, old Rocky Top land ready to take on the same Pacers team that got lit up on defense by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. It’s the same team that nearly nosedived off a cliff against the makeshift Orlando Magic.
The Grizzlies will continue to feast.
Indiana is still struggling, and they can’t erase those issues by beating up on a couple of bad teams. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have won four of their last five games with three of those wins coming against legitimate playoff contenders. Myles Turner is out of the lineup will give Jonas Valanciunas a more favorable matchup down low. Memphis is a top-10 rebounding team in basketball, while the Pacers are one of the worst in the league. Losing their big-man will only make things more difficult against a Grizzlies team looking to impose their will.
I’m laying the points and taking Memphis.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Grizzlies are cooking like Chef Gordon Ramsey on the offensive end of the floor right now. If you had any doubts about their hot streak, go look at what they did to arguably the best defensive team in basketball in the New York Knicks. They knocked down 14 3-pointers and shot 50 percent from the floor in a 129-point performance.
Granted, they also gave up 133 points in that game, which should lead to some confidence for the Pacers coming into this meeting as well. They were involved in an offensive shootout themselves earlier in the week and posted a 141-point performance against the Timberwolves. Considering the way the Grizzlies have struggled defensively, they’ll clearly have their moments to make a splash. Give me the over in this one.