The Grizzlies returned to action on Wednesday night at home after a disappointing five-game road trip. However, the team dropped their third consecutive game at the FedEx Forum against the Indiana Pacers, 116–113.
Memphis has dropped six of eight games after winning five of their first six this season. The Grizzlies fell to 0–4 this season against Eastern Conference opponents, however, the team is 7–3 against Western Conference opponents.
Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 35 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and five blocks. After the game, Gasol preached about the defensive effort.
“You can have some great nights offensively, some good nights. Defensively, I don’t think there should ever be an excuse to not be consistent,” Gasol said. “It’s simple. You see what they try to run, see what they try to accomplish and you communicate it. And then it just has a ripple effect. You need multiple efforts, everybody on the same page.”
The Grizzlies’ defense was nonexistent for the first three quarters and were down by many as 17 points. The Pacers shot 12 for 24 from the three-point line.
“I thought we really played three solid quarters of good basketball,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan. “Defensively, we still have to work on defending the paint. They scored 64 points in the paint. Going down the stretch, we knew they were going to make a run. We got the stops we needed at the right time.”
The Grizzlies rallied late in the fourth quarter but came up short after Gasol missed a game-tying three as time expired.
“The first three quarters, I just had no answers because we just weren’t locked in defensively for whatever reason,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said. “Our defense is plummeting because of our lack of focus and lack of effort.”
Slow starts have been a thorn in Memphis’ side most of the season. Last night was no exception, the team only scored six points in the first five minutes of the game.
“I think we need to come out with a hit-first mentality,” said Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons after the game. “Sometimes we tiptoe into games and we have to start with that defensive edge and set the tone early.”
Parsons continued, “It’s hard fighting back. How we played at the end of the game is how we need to play at the start of the game. It’s tough digging a hole against these teams, no matter what their record is. They are NBA players. You give them a lead like that, it’s tough to come back.”
Mario Chalmers started in place of Mike Conley who set out against the Indiana due to an Achilles injury.
JaMychal Green returned to the line-up for the first time since suffering an ankle injury during the season opener on October 18th. Green ended with eight points in 17 minutes of play.
Tyreke Evans scored 18 points, snapping a franchise-record run of six straight games with at least 20 points as a reserve.
The Pacers led by Darren Collins managed a wire to wire victory on Beale Street. Collins scored a season-high 30 points and dished out a team-high eight assists. Victor Oladipo chipped in 21 points while Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 for the Pacers.
“There’s always a much-needed edge playing in a game regardless, but especially on the road in the NBA,” said Oladipo. “It’s really hard to win on the road in the NBA. It’s huge for us.”
The Grizzlies will host the James Harden and the Houston Rockets in their final regular-season meeting on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Grizzlies lead the season series 2–1.