MEMPHIS — Their starting center, Marc Gasol, was limited by a severe ankle injury and their opponent, the Indiana Pacers, brought one of the NBA’s top teams to the FedExForum. The Memphis Grizzlies ignored those obstacles.
Putting together what coach Dave Joerger called “as complete a win as we have had all season,” the Grizzlies defeated the Pacers 82-71 Saturday night. Guard Mike Conley scored 21 points, forward Zach Randolph added 18 points and 13 rebounds and reserve guard Mike Miller scored 13 to lead the Grizzlies.
“I think that’s the best performance we have had from start to finish for 48 minutes,” Joerger said. “I’m really, really proud of our guys.”
The Grizzles (41-28) extended their home winning streak to nine and won for the 15th time in their last 17 games at FedExForum. The Pacers had their three-game win streak against the Grizzlies snapped.
Indiana (51-19) was led by guard Lance Stephenson, who had 15. Forward Paul George, the Pacers’ leading scorer, was held to eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. He entered the game with a 22.1 average. Forward David West was the only other Pacers player in double figures with 10 points, but was 5-of-15 shooting.
“We were a little bit too indecisive and hesitant with the basketball,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. “And we had poor shooting nights from a number of guys.”
The Grizzlies were playing the second game of a challenging back-to-back. Memphis lost to the Miami Heat, the Southeast Division leader, Friday night in Miami and before beating the Pacers, the leaders in the Central Division. Miami and Indiana are the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
Memphis set the tone from the outset behind Conley’s aggressive play and a stellar defensive effort — led by guards Courtney Lee and Tony Allen and forward Tayshaun Prince — kept George and West from being effective.
“It was one of those games,” Allen said. “We had to lock down (defensively).”
Conley said the Grizzlies helped themselves by limiting the Pacers to one shot on the offensive end.
Memphis out-rebounded Indiana 47-35 and the Pacers’ starters had only three offensive boards.
“I think we did a great job boxing out and not giving them second and third chances,” Conley said. “And we did a good job of attacking them on the offensive end and trying to get them in foul trouble.”
Leading 43-30 at the half, the Grizzlies maintained a double-digit lead throughout the third quarter and extended their advantage to 15 on several occasions. Randolph scored eight of his points in the quarter and Gasol had five.
Gasol was playing despite injuring his left ankle in Friday night’s game in Miami. He finished with 10 points and nine rebounds and played despite spending the day in a walking boot and not going through warmups.
“I wanted to save every step that I was going to take for the game,” Gasol said.
Joerger said Gasol’s decision to play through discomfort provided a boost for the team. Gasol played a team-high 39 minutes.
“When I woke up (Saturday) I was pretty sore,” Gasol said. “But as day wore on I was more confident that I was going to be able to play.”
The Pacers made a brief run to start the fourth. When guard Evan Turner made a 3-pointer, it was part of a 7-2 run that cut the Grizzlies lead to 10 (66-56). But the Pacers could get no closer.
Indiana entered the game having won five of its last six and limiting opponents to 38.9 percent shooting. Memphis shot 46 percent in the first half and 44 percent for the game.
The Grizzlies built a 13-point halftime lead behind the shooting of Conley and Miller, who combined for 24 points and were 9-of-14 from the field. Conley scored nine of the team’s first 13 points as Memphis grabbed a 13-4 advantage and Miller scored his 13 points in the second quarter as he connected on four of six from 3-point range and helped the Grizzlies a 43-30 halftime lead. Miller dropped in consecutive 3-pointers early in the second quarter to allow the Grizzlies to pull away when the Pacers had trimmed the Memphis advantage to one, 22-21.
NOTES: The Grizzlies limited Indiana to a season-low 71 points and 36.5 percent shooting, its third-lowest of the season. … Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph had his 399th career double-double. … The Pacers signed C Andrew Bynum on Feb. 1 after he was placed on suspension by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Bynum is out indefinitely with soreness and swelling in his right knee. He appeared in two games with the Pacers, but missed his fourth straight Saturday. … Grizzlies reserve C Kosta Koufos was called for a technical foul on the final play of the first quarter when he pushed F Paul George to the ground. The two became entangled on a last-second shot by Koufos. … The Grizzlies improved to 11-5 this season when playing the back end of back-to-back games. They are 5-0 when playing the second game at home. … The Grizzlies announced a sellout of 18,119.
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