With Tyrese Haliburton still sidelined with an injury, the Indiana Pacers have been forced to figure things out without their superstar point guard, who has been the driving force behind their success this season.
That said, on Saturday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Pacers were once again forced to roll without Haliburton, but they got the job done.
The Grizzlies are dealing with a ton of injuries of their own, but they’ve been playing fairly well in spite of that. However, Indiana was too much for them to deal with, and Bennedict Mathurin led the way.
Mathurin came off the bench for the Pacers but was absolutely dominant, leading the team in scoring with an efficient performance that helped take down the Grizzlies.
After the game, Mathurin spoke about what Memphis’ defense was showing him that allowed him to take over. (H/t Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star)
"The main thing for me was just to keep the game simple," Mathurin said. "Just try to come out there and have an impact. It was working. It was working and I was scoring and getting my teammates involved. It was just knowing what the defense gave me. They were giving me drives early. I was applying pressure going to the rim."
By allowing Mathurin, who was one of the best in the league at earning free throws in his rookie season, to get to the rim, the Grizzlies let him get into a rhythm.
Mathurin finished the game with 24 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block while shooting an impressive 9-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-5 from behind the three-point line.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Pacers lineup picked up the slack with Haliburton out, as four other guys ended the game with at least 15 points - Pascal Siakam, Aaron Nesmith, Andrew Nembhard, and Jalen Smith.
Getting wins without Haliburton will be key for the Pacers if they hope to maintain their spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and against the Grizzlies, Mathurin came in clutch.