Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pacers 116, Grizzlies 110: I Like Ike

Ike Diogu came up huge playing a key role in the Pacers' second half comeback win over the Grizzlies, 116-110. On a night when it appeared the Grizzlies just weren't going to miss, the Pacers hung around and tighten up on the defensive end to put the game away in the fourth quarter. More thoughts:
  • The Grizz were rested and ready for the Pacers to arrive. After beating the Lakers last night, the Pacers came out sluggish on the defensive end and gave up 62 first half points. They were lucky to only trail by six.
  • Memphis is second in the league in 3-ball percentage to Phoenix and they proved why tonight. Mike Miller and Chucky Atkins threw up some daggers from behind the arc keeping the Grizz going.
  • Midway through the third, Chris Denari mentioned that the 3-ball and free throw differential at the time was 27 points, but the Pacers only trailed by six at the time.
  • The play that really pushed the Pacers to another level was compliments of Danny Granger at the end of the third quarter. Trailing by two, Granger grabbed a rebound with eight seconds to go. He headed up court dribbling through three defenders hell bent on getting an easy shot before the buzzer. He did make an easy shot and drew the foul with 3.5 to go. Danny missed the free throw, but Ike Diogu fought for the rebound and his put back was goal tended, giving the Pacers a 91-89 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Resolve.
  • Once again, the Darrell Armstrong led unit to start the fourth quarter dialed up the defense and set the tone for taking control of the game. If not for some timely Grizz 3s the Pacers would've run and hid in the first four minutes.
  • Diogu really went to work in the fourth quarter and saw some extended minutes with JO as the game was decided. Ike scored a season-high 19 points with 9 boards. His interior moves with the ball were sweet and he made defenders pay for fouling him by making all seven of his free throws. Troy Murphy is out indefinitely with his broken nose, so Ike's minutes should rise and he looks ready to embrace the opportunity.
  • Diogu's effort earned him the Player of the Game honor from the broadcast team. Ike was huge, but it tells you what a great year Jermaine O'Neal is having when he scores 25 with 17 rebs and a couple of blocks and isn't considered the PoG.
  • Jamaal Tinsley had another nice night with 25 points and 9 assists. He unloaded a couple of annoying turnovers in the second half, but was able to make up for them in other ways. Still, if he could tighten up the loose turnovers his level of play would be remarkable right now.
  • Tins had a sweet drive in the first half, splitting a double team by dribbling the ball through Pau Gasol's legs allowing him to cruise in for an uncontested layup.
  • Pau Gasol had a nice game scoring 30 and displaying a nice array of offensive shots, but when it came to crunch time Gasol shriveled to the challenge of the Pacers defense. Trade suitors beware.
  • David Harrison suited up and played a few minutes in the first half, scoring four points. Nice return for the big fella. Keith McCleod also suited up but did not play. Along with Murphy, Marquis Daniels sat out the game again due to his knee.
  • Golden State will be in town Monday on what is expected to be the coldest day of the Winter season so far. There should be plenty of buzz inside the Fieldhouse with Al, Jack, and Saras returning with the Warriors. The TV ad pumping the game said to come see Baron Davis and Al Harrington. Jack's picture was included with a few other players but he was absent from the sales pitch. Pacer fans certainly can't complain about the team since the trade, so hopefully the former Pacers warm reception for the time in Indy. I said, hopefully.
  • Of course, if the Colts lose on Sunday everyone in town will still be shocked and unable to function properly on Monday, so the Fieldhouse could be pretty quiet.

(Photo: Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

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