8:00 PM ET, December 26, 2008
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Memphis fights back to steal victory over Indiana, snap four-game skid
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Trailing by 17 points early, the Memphis Grizzlies refused to fold.
• O.J. Mayo has scored at least 10 points in 27 of his first 29 NBA games and leads all rookies in scoring at 19.8 ppg.
• The Grizzlies snapped a four-game losing streak.
• Danny Granger has scored at least 20 points in 21 games this season for the Pacers.
• Indiana's Troy Murphy has 209 rebounds in his last 17 games.
-- ESPN research
"We caught them and perhaps they were a little overconfident based on our defense in the first half," Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We didn't really change anything schematically and really just grinded this thing out. I would like to give credit to our team for not giving up."
Memphis took the lead with seven unanswered points late in the game and held on to stop the skid. The Pacers lost for the third time in their last four games.
It was the largest deficit the Grizzlies have overcome in a win this season.
Marquis Daniels led the Pacers with a season-high 28 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter as Indiana tried to stay close. Danny Granger scored 26 points before colliding with teammate Jarrett Jack with 10:08 to play. Granger went to the locker room with a concussion and did not return.
"I tried, but they wouldn't let me come back," he said. "I got hit so hard, it was kind of black. I just stayed down. When I got up, I felt dizzy."
The loss of Granger hindered the Pacers, who were left with Daniels as their lone big scorer. But Indiana coach Jim O'Brien wasn't making any excuses.
"I don't believe in that," O'Brien said when asked about bad luck. "We have enough players in uniform and on the court. Whether Danny's not in you've got to win a basketball game."
Roy Hibbert had 15 points for Indiana, hitting all seven of his shots before getting into foul trouble.
The Grizzlies trailed by two with 4 minutes left, then went on a 7-0 run. Gasol scored baskets on both ends of the surge, with a three-point play from Warrick in the middle.
That gave Memphis a 106-101 lead, its biggest of the game. The two free throws by Mayo -- which came after a hustling Conley flipped the ball back inbounds to leave Memphis in possession -- made it 108-105. Travis Diener's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Indiana's inside strength was evident early as the Pacers built their 17-point advantage in the first half. Initially, Hibbert was getting free for easy baskets, partly because Milicic, who was guarding the rookie out of Georgetown, was slowed by a left ankle injury. The Pacers outrebounded the Grizzlies in the first quarter, almost grabbing as many offensive rebounds as Memphis had total.
By the time Rasho Nesterovic (14 points) got free for a dunk with about 10 minutes left in the half, the boos from the sparse crowd built into frustration at Memphis' poor defense.
"They were killing us on the offensive boards, but we knew they weren't going to make all the shots that they were making in the first half," Conley said. "We had to make sure we played better defense."
Granger's 20 first-half points, plus 13 each from Hibbert and Daniels, allowed the Pacers to carry a 68-59 lead into halftime. It was the most points the Grizzlies had allowed in the first half this season.
O'Brien noticed his team starting to lose focus in the first half. The Pacers appeared willing to sit on a margin that reached double digits early and stayed that way until the closing seconds of the half.
"We started out downhill when we got our lead in the first quarter, and we did not start out at a high level in the second quarter," O'Brien said. "We were shooting a ridiculously high number in the first half, and I'm sure their coaching staff got on them."
Milicic became more active in the second half before going to the locker room with an injury that turned out to be a broken fourth knuckle on his right hand.
Memphis steadily cut into Indiana's lead, then erased it in the third period. A pair of free throws by Brandon Rush gave the Pacers an 87-86 edge heading into the fourth.
The Grizzlies, who at times have had trouble closing games, finished strong down the stretch.
"That goes to show how much pride we've got in our team," Conley said. "We didn't want to go out losing this game big-time, and playing the way we did in the first half."
Indiana is 2-17 when opponents score 100 points. Memphis is 8-8 at home.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||43-80 (.538)||41-78 (.526)|
|3PM-3PA||6-22 (.273)||2-13 (.154)|
|FTM-FTA||13-18 (.722)||24-40 (.600)|
|Fast Break Points||10||11|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||28 (2/0)||18 (0/0)|