Indiana at Memphis
Life on the road has not been all that pretty of late for the Indiana Pacers. That's the reality Indiana faces as it begins a season high-tying four-game road trip Monday at Memphis. The Pacers, one of the best home teams this season, have lost four of their last five away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. However, they do enter the trip on a bit of high note after knocking off Houston 105-95 on Friday behind another outstanding effort from Paul George.
The Grizzlies showed some road mettle Saturday in Chicago, where they lost a 13-point fourth-quarter lead before surviving an overtime affair against the Bulls. Marc Gasol scored 19 points and Zach Randolph had 13 and 19 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end, in his return from a back strain as Memphis won its second straight since a season high-tying three-game skid. The Grizzlies have scored 85 points or fewer in each of their last five games.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT THE PACERS (25-16): George had his streak of five straight double-doubles come to an end against the Rockets, but he still managed to do a little of everything. The third-year star had 31 points, six rebounds and five steals, and made 7 of 10 3-pointers. "My guys found me, so I just had to knock shots down," said George, who had shot below 50 percent for nine straight games before his 11-of-19 showing. David West had 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the win.
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (26-13): After these two teams met on New Year's Eve in Indianapolis, Randolph said that the Grizzlies needed to learn how to close out games. They led by 11 points late in the third quarter before going cold in the fourth and losing to the Pacers by five. Although it lost a double-digit lead at Chicago, Randolph's crew did enough to survive regulation and then controlled the extra session after scoring the first six points, perhaps a sign of maturation. Memphis is 15-5 at home but has split its last six, including losses to lesser teams like Philadelphia and Portland.
1. Indiana leads the NBA in scoring defense (89.3) and rebounds per game (46.3).
2. Randolph, who missed one game with a lower back strain, recorded his league-leading 26th double-double against Chicago, but his 6-for-20 effort was the worst shooting performance for the forward since Dec. 17, also against the Bulls.
3. Gasol led the Grizzlies in scoring Saturday for the first time since Nov. 16 vs. New York.
PREDICTION: Memphis 86, Indiana 84.