Memphis Grizzlies @ Indiana Pacers
Wednesday, December 30
7:00 PM EST
Indy closes out their two-game season series with the Grizzlies tonight — and this time Jamaal Tinsley will be coming back to Conseco Fieldhouse with his new team. Jamaal hasn’t played a game in Indiana since he last played for the Pacers against the Knicks on February 5, 2008, and this marks only the second game he has played against the Pacers since … well … ever.
So that should be a good backdrop for the game.
But the real story is that the Pacers need a win in a very bad way after dropping their past 7 in a row. And despite the butt-kicking the Grizz handed out when these two teams matched up last time (Indy lost by 13 and was outscored 58-36 in the second half) and despite the fact that Memphis is playing rather well of late (8-4 in December), the Pacers have a good shot at ending the agony tonight — at least temporarily — because the Grizzlies are so bad defensively.
Then again, based upon that same rationale, here’s what I said while previewing the December 18 Memphis/Pacers game, which was so long ago that Indy was actually on a 1-game winning streak at the time:
With the Spurs, Bucks, Celtics and Hawks being their next four opponents, it could be the last good chance for a win until after Santa has already come and gone.
Sorta like thinking you might be pregnant, this is one of those times when being right sucks.
Fortunately, the next four Pacer opponents following tonight’s game are the Wolves, Knicks, Magic and Wolves. So regardless of what happens tonight, I’m pretty confident that Indy can squeak out at least one win in the next four.
Still, may as well just break the losing streak this evening, no? It’s worth a try.
Five Other Things
(1) Zach Randolph is playing out of his goddamn mind right now. He’s averaging 23.3 ppg and 14.3 rpg on 51.4% shooting in December and those ridiculous totals don’t even do justice to the insanity he has put up in his last five games, during which he has dropped a 23/19, 27/14, 33/18, 32/24 and 26/16. Wow. Just. Wow. The Pacers are going to have to stop this soon-to-be Western Conference Player of the Month if they want to win.
(2) Statistically, the Grizzlies may actually be the perfect elixir for Indiana right now. The Pacers are the 2nd worst shooting team in the league at 42.9% from the field and the Grizz are the 2nd worst defensive team from a FG% standpoint, allowing opponents to shoot 48.1% against them for the year. What this means is that if the Pacers can’t at least crack 45% tonight of all nights, then this team is even worse than I thought it was. (For the record, Indy shoot a gross 40.7% when they last met two weeks ago.)
(3) OJ Mayo, a member of one of the worst NBA franchises in existence, said this about tonight’s game: “We’ve got to win the games we’re supposed to win, if we want to get to where we want to get to.” What does that say about Indy? Go Pacers.
(4) From the Pacers.com preview: “In the last six games, the Pacers’ starting wings, Mike Dunleavy and Dahntay Jones, have been outscored 166-67 by opposing starters”
(5) Troy Murphy left last night’s game with a sprained ankle. No official word yet, but he’s “doubtful” and I’d be shocked if he played. Tyler Hansbrough sat out last night as well (ear infection) and is listed as “doubtful” again tonight.
Jamaal is back. And he’s ready to rock.