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News » Grizzlies-Pacers Preview

Grizzlies-Pacers Preview

Grizzlies-Pacers Preview
After a strong start to February, the Memphis Grizzlies have reverted back to their January form. A meeting with the Indiana Pacers could help them get back on track.

The Grizzlies look to take advantage of the injury-plagued Pacers and sweep the clubs' season series for the first time when they meet Wednesday night in Indianapolis.

After going 1-13 in January and closing the month with 12 straight losses, Memphis (15-41) won four of its first five in February. The progress the Grizzlies made with that hot streak has been mostly negated, however, with five straight losses by an average of 10.0 points.

Memphis trailed by as much as 26 in a 94-79 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night, falling to 3-22 on the road, including 1-8 against Eastern Conference opponents.

"We got beat," said coach Lionel Hollins, who's 4-9 since taking over Jan. 25 when Marc Iavaroni was fired. "That's the only thing I can take away from this game."

The Grizzlies hope to snap their skid by taking advantage of a Pacers team that's been decimated by injuries.

Indiana (24-35) will again be without Danny Granger, who has a torn tendon in his right foot. Mike Dunleavy will be sidelined again by a knee injury that coach Jim O'Brien said could keep him out for the rest of the season.

Starting point guard T.J. Ford could miss his second consecutive game with the flu. Granger, Dunleavy and Ford are Indiana's top three per-game scorers with 25.0, 15.1 and 14.9 points, respectively.

Those absences could go a long way toward helping Memphis - an expansion franchise in 1995-96 - sweep its season series against Indiana for the first time. In the teams' first meeting, the Grizzlies snapped a four-game losing streak by shooting 52.6 percent in a 108-105 home victory Dec. 26.

Memphis trailed by as much as 17 points in the first quarter before rallying to win for the sixth time in 26 all-time meetings with Indiana.

The Pacers, though, put up a good fight in their last game despite their injuries. They had a two-point lead with one minute left before giving up six straight points to Nate Robinson in a 123-119 road loss to New York on Monday night.

"I thought we played a very spirited game, played with a lot of guts," O'Brien said. "We were missing three starters. We played well enough to win on the road, we just didn't pull it out at the end."

Jarrett Jack scored a career-high 33 points, Marquis Daniels added a season high-tying 28 and Troy Murphy had 19 with a season-high 21 rebounds. Those performances, though, couldn't help the Pacers avoid falling further back in the East playoff race.

"It's been frustrating at times not being able to get as many wins as we would like," Murphy said. "We've had a lot of injuries which has really kind of put us behind the eight ball, but we've felt like we should be right in the playoff mix."

Daniels led the Pacers with 28 points in the December loss to the Grizzlies. Memphis rookie O.J. Mayo had 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in that game.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 25, 2009


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