Sun, 26 Mar 2023

Two struggling teams collide when Grizzlies host Pacers

Field Level Media
29 Jan 2023, 11:19 GMT+10

After a dreadful road trip out West, the beat-up Memphis Grizzlies return home to face the Indiana Pacers on Sunday afternoon looking to snap a season-high five-game losing streak.

The Grizzlies, owners of the NBA's best home record at 20-3, dropped all five of their games on their eight-day roadswing, which concluded with a 111-100 loss on Friday in Minnesota.

"I called it the road trip of revelations," Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins said. "We're just learning a lot about ourselves, meat of the season. Told the guys at the end of the game, we've put ourselves in a still really good spot. We've got 30-plus games left and this happens during a season where you have ups and downs."

Not only was the road trip painful in the win-loss column, but it was also painful on the injury front after it was announced that Steven Adams is expected to miss three to five weeks due to a PCL sprain in his right knee.

The loss of Adams leaves a huge void in the paint for Memphis. Not only is Adams averaging 8.6 points and 2.3 assists per game, but he's the team's best rebounder at 11.5 boards per game and averages the most offensive rebounds (5.1 per game) in the league.

Desmond Bane, the team's second-leading scorer (21.6 points per game), sat out Friday's game against the Timberwolves due to right knee soreness. He's listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Pacers.

John Konchar (6.3 ppg, 4.9 rebounds per game), who has been solid off the bench for the Grizzlies, will miss his third straight game due to concussion protocol.

With Adams out, Brandon Clarke (10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Santi Aldama (9.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg) could get more minutes in the post. Jaren Jackson Jr. (16.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg) may also become more of a focal point for Memphis down low.

The Grizzlies can also lean on leading scorer Ja Morant (27.3 ppg, 8.1 assists per game), who is coming off his fourth triple-double of the season against Minnesota.

Indiana enters its matchup with Memphis having lost nine of its last 10 games. But one bright spot for the Pacers has been the play of rookie Bennedict Mathurin.

Mathurin has scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games and is coming off a 21-point, eight-rebound performance in a hard-fought 141-131 home loss to Milwaukee on Friday.

Buddy Hield (17.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Myles Turner (17.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg) have also played well for the Pacers with leading scorer Tyrese Haliburton sidelined. Haliburton (20.2 ppg, 10.2 apg) has missed nine straight games (left knee, left elbow) and will not play against Memphis.

T.J. McConnell has filled in for Haliburton and has played well. He had 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds in the loss to the Bucks and is averaging 16.1 points, 8.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds over his last 10 games.

Indiana trailed by 29 points after the first two quarters against Milwaukee but outscored the Bucks 75-56 in the second half.

"The starts we've been getting off to have been atrocious," McConnell said. "It was the pace. When we get out and run and play with pace, we're pretty good. When we can't get a stop, you see what happened in the first half."

--Field Level Media

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