Indiana Pacers grind the Grizzlies to dust in season opener


The Indiana Pacers wasted no time in starting the season off right, laying a disheartening beatdown on the Memphis Grizzlies in their first game.

The Indiana Pacers controlled the game from the opening tip and ground the “Grit and Grind” Grizzlies into a fine bear powder. At one point in the first, the Pacers were enjoying a 17-3 margin on the glass and finished with a dominating 57-28 advantage there.

It’s only the first game, and maybe this is the year the wheels fall off of the Gasol/Conley combination, but goodness gracious did the Pacers pummel this poor Grizzlies team. Gasol and Conley combined to shoot just 5-22 from the field as the Pacers held the Grizz to just 30% shooting overall. Marc Gasol tried repeatedly to attack Myles Turner on the low block, and got absolutely nothing for his efforts.

A stronger Turner rebuked him repeatedly in a match that Gasol has dominated handily in the past. No starter played more than 28 minutes in a feel-good romp that saw the Pacers dominate in the paint and on the glass. It’s not a very “2018” feeling map to success, but if the combination of Turner/Sabonis/Thad Young can bludgeon teams like this nightly, the Pacers have no need to change that formula whatsoever.

83. 211. 111. 100. Final

The Good: Rebounding. My biggest concern for the Pacers coming into this year was answered resoundingly for at least 1 game, as the Pacers carried a 57-28 advantage on the glass.

The Bad: Not much. T.J. Leaf rolled an ankle and didn’t return. Doug McDermott and Tyreke Evans combined to only shoot 2-10 from deep, after being at 49% and 40% respectively last season. Overall, a great, great win.

MVP: Domas Sabonis. He looked hungry out there and took advantage of just a smidge of foul trouble by Myles Turner. Nate couldn’t find reasons to sit him, and he led the team in minutes tonight.

LVP: Darren Collison. He was the only Pacers rotation player who finished with a negative +/- (-1) and didn’t really do anything. Conley did have a rough offensive game, which DC should get at least a bit of credit for.

X-Factor: Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogie led the team in scoring with 19 and scored 8 of the first 10 Pacers points. The rest of the Pacers carried this hot start throughout, and Bojan appeared to have set the tone well while only missing 2 shots on the night.

A. Zero points and 5 assists in 21 minutes. Was the only Pacers rotation player with a negative in the +/-, finishing at -1. Pacers didn’t need him.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

A. 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, and (sadly) no steals in just 26 minutes. Goodbye sweet steals streak. No heroics form the Pacers MVP were needed tonight. SG. Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO

Bogdanovic scored the Pacers first 6 points of the year (and 8 of the first 10) en route to 19 points on 7-9 shooting, 3-3 from deep, and 6 rebounds. Came out emphatically on the offensive end. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC. A

A. 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block. The quintessential Thad Young game.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER. A. 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks in only 20 minutes. Some foul trouble stalled him out early, but this should not be lost in the shuffle – Marc Gasol could do absolutely nothing with the ball against Turner. Myles looked much, much stronger

C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. A. Led the Pacers in minutes (29) and rebounds (15) while adding in 14 points. Finished a monster +26 on the evening. He seemed to have his hands on every rebound, and Memphis didn’t have any kind of answer for him. Also spun to and finished with his right hand once, which is wildly encouraging.

Indiana Pacers. TYREKE EVANS. A. 14 points on 6-12 shooting (only 1-5 from deep), 4 rebounds, 6 assists. Took a couple of ill advised off the dribble 3’s, but looked awesome otherwise. His sense of “not fast but in constant motion” is fun to watch, and he looked like a plus passer while collapsing the Grizzlies defense.. SG

A. 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, all the cornrows. CoJo and his new hairstyle looked like a slighter better (and maybe heavier) version of CoJo and his old hairstyle. Finished a team high +28.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

A. McBuckets got buckets. 12 points of 5-9 from the field. Only 1-5 from deep, but buried a 3 from George Hill country in the corner, and had a sneaky back cut for a dunk. His offensive skill set should blend in juuuuuust fine.. SF. Indiana Pacers. DOUG MCDERMOTT

Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. A. Played less than a minute before spraining his ankle, sadly. He was listed as questionable to return, which (hopefully) means it’s nothing series. He did not return with the game well in hand.. PF

A. Garbage time. 2 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds in 4 minutes is good work though. His backdoor bounce pass to Doug McDermott was fun; those two should see sporadic minutes together throughout the season when the Pacers get into foul trouble or deal with injuries. They’ve got some Knicks chemistry leftover, it seems.. C. Indiana Pacers. KYLE O'QUINN

A. Garbage time. Checked in, immediately banked in a deep three from nearly straight on, and missed another seconds later. The youngest Holiday brother isn’t shy about getting his shots up.. PG. Indiana Pacers. AARON HOLIDAY

A. Played 5 seconds in the first half, finishing with an (uncredited) block of a buzzer beater. Joined the garbage time brigade for the last 4 minutes of the game with mixed results. He made a nice move to the bucket for an easy layup, but also missed a 3 pretty badly. He’s a work in progress, but I don’t know that Nate can keep him off the court.. PG. Indiana Pacers. EDMOND SUMNER

That’s right, everyone get’s an A. They all earned good grades for dominating the first game of the season, every if some dudes played better than others.

dark. Next. Pacers preseason roundtable

The Pacers next game is Friday, 10/19 at 8:30 in Milwaukee for the Bucks home opener.