Everything is about context, and although a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on the road isn’t the end of the world for the Indiana Pacers, they’re getting extremely worried about Paul George and this shooting slump of his, because it’s difficult enough for them to generate points without having to deal with their best player making all the wrong decisions on offense.
The Grizzlies had nothing to worry about with Marc Gasol back in action after leaving against the Heat with a possible injury. In a clash between two of the best centers in the league, no fireworks were shows, but the Memphis Grizzlies winning 82-71 in a battle of two twin teams was also shown in the individual numbers between Gasol and Hibbert.
Both players are the defensive anchors of two teams who aren’t exactly known for their offense, but Gasol can do a lot more than just clog the lane. He finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, while Hibbert was limited to only 5 points and 0 rebounds, looking a bit lost like his entire team. Paul George was held to only 8 points on 2-of-10 from the field, as his terrible shooting form continues in what seems to be the very wrong time for the Pacers, trying to make sure they’ll finish first in the East.
Luckily for them, the only other team that can play this kind of defense is the Pacers themselves, so unless they end up playing the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA finals, they might not have that much to worry about. But seriously looking at the situation, despite their superiority over almost every team in the East, shooting 36.5% from the field and looking confused and stuck on offense for yet another game has to be causing some concern for both Vogel and his players.
We couldn’t score at all. That’s the basic thing. I think we had a lot of contested 2s. Guys were trying, and they were playing hard, but for some reason, something was a little off. It’s the offensive end where we didn’t play well. We didn’t get into a rhythm. … If you hold a team to 82 points, you are playing pretty good defense. We were a little bit too indecisive and hesitant with the basketball. We had poor shooting nights from a number of guys.
Looking for some help from their bench, the Pacers were once again disappointed, getting 14 points from the Turner-Scola duo on another poor 4-of-11 shooting game. The two can contribute in other ways like they did in the win over the Bulls, but right now the Pacers need to see them generating some sort of offensive spurt when they’re on the floor.
The Grizzlies got a great game from Mike Conley, scoring 21 points, followed by Zach Randolph with another big performance, finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Mike Miller, maybe buoyed by the championship ring he was presented with the other night had a hot start from beyond the arc, connecting four times in the first half to finish with 13 points.
The Grizzlies have made up for the time they’ve lost with Gasol out. They might even finish sixth in the West if things keep going this way. The Pacers shouldn’t worry too much about finishing first in the East. They need to start thinking how to bring back Paul George to some offensive stability, because without his ability to generate points, this excellent defense isn’t going to be enough.