The Memphis Grizzlies will try to snap out of a slump and pick up their first win against an Eastern Conference opponent when they open a four-game homestand against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. A 110-103 loss at Milwaukee on Monday capped the Grizzlies’ 2-3 road trip, gave them five losses in the last seven games overall and dropped coach David Fizdale’s team to 0-3 against the East.
“We try to pride ourselves on our toughness and I didn’t think we held up our end of the bargain,” Fizdale told reporters Monday. The Pacers have lost five in a row in Memphis and enter this one struggling through a 1-5 stretch that includes Sunday’s 118-95 home loss to Houston. “When they get off to a fast start, there’s no looking back,” guard Victor Oladipo said of the Rockets, who raced to a 35-18 lead after one quarter. “You have to have a great start to beat a team like that in a 48-minute game. We had a little trouble matching up in transition.” Oladipo scored a game-high 28 points and is averaging 26.5 on 59.5 percent shooting over the last two contests.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FS Indiana, FS Southeast (Memphis)
ABOUT THE PACERS (6-8): After the dismal first quarter in Sunday’s loss, Indiana’s second unit did well to keep pace with the high-powered Rockets, led by Damontis Sabonis (17 points, five rebounds) and Lance Stephenson (eight points, season-high 10 boards). Coach Nate McMillan was pleased with the effort, although he was well aware that Houston superstar James Harden was off the floor for much of that stretch. “When Harden went off the floor, we were able to get some things going and Lance was part of that second group,” McMillan told reporters. “I look at both sides of the ball with our guys. We got to be a team that plays two ways.”
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (7-6): Mike Conley made 2-of-12 shots in the loss to the Bucks as his season-long struggles continued, but the veteran point guard is confident he has nailed down the problem. “It’s all mental. This game is mental,” he told the media. “I’ve been through it, the ups and downs, and I always come out on top. It’s no different this time. I‘m just going to take it day by day and keep improving. We just need to figure it out. It’s tough.” Tyreke Evans has picked up much of the slack and scored 27 points against Milwaukee, giving him an average of 24.7 in six games this month.
1. Grizzlies rookie SF Dillon Brooks matched a season-high with 19 points against the Rockets and is shooting 54.8 percent from the floor over a four-game stretch.
2. Memphis entered Tuesday ranked second in the NBA in opponents’ field-goal percentage (43.1), while Indiana was 29th (47.6).
3. Pacers PF Thaddeus Young missed all seven of his shots against Houston at home but is averaging 15.6 points on 51.9 percent in eight road games.
PREDICTION: Grizzlies 104, Pacers 96