The Indiana Pacers wanted to bounce back from a sorry 119-116 road loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on November 30. They did so in resounding fashion against a struggling and depleted Memphis Grizzlies team two days later.
Seven Indiana players scored in double digits in a 117-104 win over Memphis at FedEX Forum on December 2. Malcolm Brogdon had 19 points and nine assists while Domantas Sabonis scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead a balanced scoring attack. Myles Turner added 17 points, Jeremy Lamb chipped in with 15 points, and T.J. Warren scored 14 points for the Pacers.
The Grizzlies, who missed the services of Ja Morant (sore back), Jonas Valanciunas (illness), Brandon Clarke (left hip soreness), and Kyle Anderson (right heel soreness), made it close during the first 12 minutes of play.
After Indiana led 24-19 after the first quarter, Memphis went on a 12-1 run to take a six-point lead. Former Pacers forward Solomon Hill scored five of his 22 points during that spurt.
However, the Pacers went on an 11-0 run of their own and never looked back. They led by 15 points several times in the fourth quarter and held on. It was just Indiana’s third victory in its past 12 visits to Memphis.
The Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson, Jr. led all scorers with 31 points. Dillon Brooks had 19 points while De’Angelo Melton had 16 points for Memphis.
Warren Leads Pacers Past Thunder
The 8-11 Oklahoma City Thunder were the bigger challenge for the Indiana Pacers on December 4. The new-look Thunder featured power forward Danilo Gallinari and point guard Chris Paul.
Indiana took an early 22-15 lead after T.J. Warren made a driving spin move to the basket. However, Oklahoma City went on a 14-4 run featuring six points from point guard Dennis Schroder. The Thunder led after one quarter, 29-26.
The second quarter was a nip-and-tuck affair. Schroder continued to make his presence felt with seven points. The Pacers’ bench gave the team a lift with a combined 12 points from Justin Holiday, Doug McDermott, and T.J. McConnell. Nonetheless, Oklahoma City led at the half, 50-49.
Gallinari waxed hot from the three-point area in the third quarter. He made four triples during the first five-and-a-half minutes of the third to give the Thunder a 64-60 lead. Warren scored nine of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter. The Pacers outscored the Thunder 30-28 during that span to take a slim 79-78 lead after 36 minutes of play.
Oklahoma City led 96-95 after center Steven Adams scored on a putback basket with 2:44 left in the game. However, Myles Turner’s looping three-pointer and a combined three free throws from Malcolm Brogdon and Warren gave the Pacers a 101-96 lead.
Indiana led 103-100 with 16.7 seconds left in the game. Terrance Ferguson missed a three-pointer from the corner which would’ve tied things up. Warren’s two free throws and Holiday’s breakaway dunk off a botched inbounds pass sealed the deal for the Pacers.
Domantas Sabonis complemented Warren nicely with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Adams led the Thunder with 20 points (on 8-of-8 shooting) and nine rebounds. Gallinari and Schroder each scored 18 points for OKC.
Griffin’s Late 3-Pointer Lifts Pistons Past Pacers
Detroit Pistons power forward Blake Griffin’s three-pointer with 41 seconds lifted his team to a 108-101 win over the visiting Pacers on December 6. It was Detroit’s third win over Indiana in four games this season.
The Pistons (9-14), behind the exploits of Griffin and center Andre Drummond, took control in the first half. They got off to a 31-19 lead in the first quarter, thanks to timely outside sniping from Griffin, Tony Snell, Christian Wood, Luke Kennard, and Langston Galloway.
Detroit held Indiana at bay in the second quarter. Griffin and Drummond combined for the Pistons’ final seven points of the half to establish a 55-44 lead at halftime.
The Pacers went on a furious rally in the third quarter. They had their biggest lead of the game, 75-68, on Jeremy Lamb’s 20-foot jumper at the 1:32 mark. 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to spark the Pistons’ attack. He made an 11-foot jumper with 18.4 seconds left for a five-point Detroit lead.
Griffin and Drummond scored 25 points each for the Pistons. T.J. Warren led the Pacers with 26 points. Point guard Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points.
Pacers Beat Knicks on Randle’s Missed Free Throw
The Indiana Pacers wanted a third win on their five-game road trip. They achieved their goal thanks to Julius Randle’s missed free throw with one-tenth of a second remaining on December 7.
With 10.3 seconds left in the game, T.J. Warren (who led the Pacers with 25 points), missed a step-back jump shot. Myles Turner got the offensive rebound but lost the ball to Knicks point guard Elfrid Payton.
Turner made amends by blocking Mitchell Robinson’s layup attempt. However, Randle grabbed the offensive rebound. Pacers point guard Aaron Holiday fouled him. Randle cashed in on the first free throw but missed the second one.
The first half was a competitive one. Indiana led after two quarters, 66-60. The Pacers threatened to pull away after Doug McDermott’s three-pointer with 11:44 left in the game gave them a 92-81 lead.
The Knicks won just four of their first 22 games. However, they’ve been more competitive with interim head coach Mike Miller at the helm. They slowly chipped away at Indiana’s lead behind the shooting of Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis, and Marcus Morris, Sr..
Randle’s free throw knotted the count at 98 apiece with 6:13 remaining. Holiday’s three-pointer and Jeremy Lamb’s three-point play gave the Pacers a six-point lead. New York closed the gap to 104-102 before the wild sequence to end the game.
Domantas Sabonis complemented Warren with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Morris led the Knicks with 25 points. Randle finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Pacers Odds Trend Down Against a Hot Los Angeles Clippers Squad
Despite going 15-5 after a horrific 0-3 start, the Indiana Pacers remain underdogs against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on December 9. The Clippers (17-7) have won 10 of their past 12 games.
Former Pacers draft picks Kawhi Leonard (24.5 ppg) and Paul George (22.7 ppg) remain questionable for the game. Leonard sustained a left leg injury during the Clippers’ 135-119 win over the Washington Wizards on December 8. For his part, George has an undisclosed injury.
On the other hand, Pacers starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon (who missed the game against the Knicks with a hand injury) remains questionable for the game against Los Angeles. Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo remains sidelined as he is still recovering from the ruptured quad tendon injury he sustained in January.
Sports bookies have pegged the Pacers odds at +2.5 and the Pacers moneyline at +116 for Monday’s game. If the Pacers can get balanced scoring from its starters and play well on both ends of the court, they can give the Clippers a run for their money.