The Indiana Pacers take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night in a matchup of teams trying to stay in the playoff races in their respective conferences. The Pacers come into Sunday’s action a game behind eighth-place New York in the Eastern Conference, while the Grizzlies are eighth in the Western Conference, two games ahead of ninth-place San Antonio.
Indiana is on a two-game winning streak, having won at Orlando on Friday night. The Pacers have won three of their last four and have been humming offensively, scoring 139 points in two of their last four outings.
Memphis is at home following a four-game road trip that was ended with a 133-129 overtime loss at New York on Friday. Prior to the setback, the Grizzlies had won four straight.
Indiana won the first meeting between these two teams in early February, 134-116, behind Domantas Sabonis’ 32 points and 13 rebounds.
Indiana Pacers Start To Come Together
It’s been quite a season for the Pacers, as they traded away Victor Oladipo in an early-season trade and brought in guard Caris LeVert, who is just now getting used to his new teammates. LeVert is averaging 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 15 games with the Pacers, helping to replace some of the production lost with the departure of Oladipo.
Guard Malcolm Brogdon has been the team’s leading scorer this season, scoring 21.0 points per game while also dishing out 5.8 assists. Brogdon also brings solid defense against opposing point guards, which will make this matchup with Memphis and Ja Morant very interesting.
Sabonis has been the team’s do-everything guy, averaging 19.9 points, a team-high 11.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists. The All-Star returned to the lineup on Friday after missing a week with an ankle injury, finishing with 16 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in the win over Orlando.
While the Pacers can put points on the board in a hurry, averaging 113.1 to rank 13th in the league, they also give them up quickly. Indiana is 20th in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing opponents 113.5 points per game, and they just gave up 137 points to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Memphis Grizzlies Look Strong
Memphis had a very nice run going before Friday’s setback, beating teams like Philadelphia and Miami on the road over the past week. The Grizzlies have plenty of offense, but like the Pacers, they can have their troubles on the defensive end, as shown by allowing 133 points to the Knicks, who rank 28th in the league in scoring.
Morant has become the Grizzlies’ team leader, averaging 19.0 points and 7.4 assists to pace the team in both categories. But he’ll be looking for a better showing than the first time against Indiana, when he managed just 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting in the 18-point loss.
Center Jonas Valanciunas is as steady as they come in the paint, averaging 16.4 points and 12.5 rebounds and notching double-doubles in his last 13 games. Valanciunas is shooting 56.6% from the floor, ranking him 13th in the NBA.
The balance of the Grizzlies is shown in their leading scorers over the last five games, with four different players taking game scoring honors over that span. Forward Dillon Brooks is quietly averaging 16.5 points per game, while forward Kyle Anderson (12.6 points per game) and guard Grayson Allen (10.6) are capable of big scoring nights as well.
Grizzlies Win High-Scoring Affair
Both of these teams have multiple offensive threats who can get hot and take over a game. Both teams also are susceptible to giving up a lot of points to the opposition.
Morant and Valanciunas will lead the way in this one, as the Grizzlies have been playing very well of late. Indiana won’t make it easy, but Memphis has the advantage in the paint, which will be the difference.
When making your NBA betting picks, go with the Grizzlies to win and cover at home.