Pacers-Grizzlies Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 20, 2013
Whoever can get to 90 points figures to have the best chance to win when the top defensive teams in the NBA meet. However, neither Indiana nor Memphis was able to score that many when the Pacers got the best of the Grizzlies last month. The Pacers look to win their third straight and sweep the Grizzlies for the first time since 2006-07 on Monday, though they'll have to end a four-game losing streak at Memphis to do it. Indiana (25-16) is allowing the fewest points in the league at 89.3 per game while Memphis (26-13) is 0.3 behind. The Pacers outlasted the Grizzlies 88-83 on Dec. 31 with neither team managing to shoot better than 40 percent from the field. Indiana may need to be just as tough at the defensive end this time, as it's lost seven straight on the road when giving up 90 or more points. The Grizzlies have won 10 of 11 at home when limiting teams to fewer than 90. Memphis has held its last two opponents to fewer than 80 points in regulation, winning 85-69 over Sacramento on Friday and 85-82 in overtime at Chicago on Saturday. As good as they've been defensively, the Grizzlies may need a spark on offense if they want to extend their run. A second straight productive performance from Zach Randolph after he missed one game with a strained back could provide it. Randolph had 13 points and 19 rebounds against the Bulls, though he went 6 for 20 from the field. "He got all of his work done without having to dominate the ball," guard Mike Conley said. "He just did it all with dirty work." Randolph has been outstanding in his last 13 games against the Pacers, averaging 24.5 points and 12.2 boards. After scoring 27.3 points and shooting 53.7 percent per game in his past three versus Indiana, Rudy Gay will try to bounce back from his 11-point, 3-for-17 effort last month. Memphis had averaged 105.8 points in its previous five against the Pacers before the Dec. 31 loss. It may not be any easier for the Grizzlies on Monday, as Indiana has won 15 of 20 since a sluggish start. Paul George continued his breakout season for the Pacers on Friday, scoring 31 points while going 7 for 10 from 3-point range in a 105-95 win over Houston. "(George) has been putting in a lot of work before practice, after practice, before games, getting up a lot of shots, so we keep going to him and he's been playing real well,'' center Roy Hibbert said. The Pacers have shot 20 for 41 from beyond the arc in their two consecutive wins. They went 12 of 25 on 3s despite shooting 40.0 percent overall in the first meeting with the Grizzlies. Memphis, though, has held opponents to 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from beyond the arc in the last two games. The Grizzlies have won seven of nine in the series.
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