The Indiana Pacers aren’t going to let the injury bug slow them down.
Winners of two in a row and nine of their last 12, the short-handed Pacers aim to continue their torrid stretch on Monday when they host the Memphis Grizzlies in Indianapolis.
Indiana opened its four-game homestand with a 111-106 victory over Orlando on Saturday, a win achieved without Malcolm Brogdon after the former NBA Rookie of the Year sat out his third straight game because of a bad back.
The Pacers have played the entire season thus far without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who is on a lengthy journey in his rehabilitation from surgery to repair a torn ACL that ended his 2018-19 campaign.
“It just shows the talent we have here. We’ve got a bunch of professionals on this team, on and off the court, and they prove it each day,” T.J. McConnell told the Indianapolis Star.
Aaron Holiday drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds remaining on Saturday and Domantas Sabonis collected 25 points and nine rebounds as Indiana defeated Orlando for the second time this month.
“(Holiday’s) showing more and more confidence out there and taking his shot,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I didn’t think he forced anything tonight. He had some good looks that he missed in the first half but those five points he scored late in the game was big for us.”
Indiana benefited from six players finishing with double-digit scoring, including Jeremy Lamb pumping in 14 points in his return from a seven-game absence with a sprained ankle.
Doug McDermott made three 3-pointers en route to matching Holiday with a 13-point performance, while Justin Holiday had 12 and Myles Turner added 10.
“We put a lot of effort into that game,” McDermott said, per the Indianapolis Star. “After four days of practice, we were ready to play. It’s good to come out with a ‘W.'”
The Grizzlies answered a three-game winning streak by losing their third straight contest, courtesy of a 109-108 setback versus the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
Memphis, however, had a chance to pull out the victory with the ball in its hands on the final possession, only to botch an inbounds pass.
Rookie Ja Morant scored 26 points on an efficient 10-for-16 shooting performance while adding six assists and five steals. That effort allowed the 20-year-old Morant to become the first NBA rookie to record at least 25 points, five assists and five steals in a game since John Wall on Nov. 2, 2010.
“(I’m) never satisfied with losing, but I can say that I’m proud of how we played (Saturday). We played together, competed ’til the end. We just came up short,” said Morant, who was the second overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft.
Jae Crowder added 21 for Memphis, which hasn’t been shy about testing its range from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies made their first eight 3-point attempts and connected on double-digit threes from distance for the eighth time in their last nine games.
–Field Level Media