Running thoughts: Pacers 116, Grizzlies 113

Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 116-113 win over the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night at FedEx Forum.

  • No Mike Conley for the Grizzlies. The Lawrence North High School product is dealing with a left Achilles injury, something that has bothered him for a while, and it caused him to miss his second game this year. Mario Chalmers made his second start of the season.
  • Domantas Sabonis is the first Pacer off the bench, and playing alongside Myles Turner. 8-0 scoring run resulted in their first double-digit lead, 19-8.
  • I agree with analyst Quinn Buckner, who said Sabonis is the better five for the second unit, and Turner is more like an offensive stretch four. Because Sabonis is so talented, it is difficult to bring him off the bench but I think it’s the right call. At least for now. And I want to see more of Sabonis and Turner together.
  • Good first quarter. Pacers assisted on each of their first eight field goals, shot 57 percent, and made five 3s. Up by nine.
  • Get open and Lance Stephenson will find you. He delivered a great pass to Sabonis, who finished with the flush. Those two are the heart of the second group – another reason I like Sabonis in this spot.
  • Shooting 7 for 11 from range, outscoring the Grizzlies by 15, doesn’t hurt.
  • 18 assists on 23 field goals – with more than two minutes left in the half. Coach Nate McMillan’s goal each game is 25 assists.
  • Best half of the season for Darren Collison. He has 20 points, locking in his third 20-plus point performance of the season. Then, he said this at halftime: “I hate to make excuses but my knee’s feeling a little bit better. It’s been hampering me all the last couple weeks.” Hmmm.
  • The Pacers, up 14 at half, did yield 38 points in the paint to Memphis.
  • They’ve done a good job of attacking AND finishing at the rim. First it was Thad Young, then Cory Joseph and Victor Oladipo scoring on difficult layups.
  • Pacers scored at least 30 for the third straight quarter – but they were unable to add to their lead. Grizzlies outscored them, 31-30, getting nine more points from Gasol.
  • You know Collison was in rhythm when he pulled up for a mid-range jumper over Gasol in transition. That game him 28 points, seven short of his career-high (35 in 2010). On top of that, he has eight assists.
  • Double technicals were handed out to Lance Stephenson and Ben McLemore with 8:11 left in the 4th – with the Pacers leading by 15. (Grizzlies would score the next eight points.)
  • Seen more frustration from Sabonis than I’ve seen all year. Mostly the officiating.
  • Pacers on a dry spell. Failed to score for five minutes after a tip in by Stephenson game them a 17-point lead (105-88), their largest of the game.
  • Fourth career 30-point game for Collison, the first since Dec. 27, 2012 when he scored 32 in Oklahoma City. He finished with 30 on 8-of-13 and he was perfect (12-for-12) at the free throw line.
  • Turner with a Roy Hibbert-like rejection of the Grizzlies’ Brandan Wright in the final minute was huge in the win. They never trailed.
  • After a review, the Grizzlies (7-7) got one last chance to tie it up with 9.1 seconds left. Marc Gasol, who finished with a game-high 35 points, missed a long 3-pointer.
  • It’s the Pacers’ first win in Memphis since January 21, 2013. They had left with a loss in eight of their last nine visits.
  • Up next: The 7-8 Pacers host the Detroit Pistons Friday night, and they’ll wear their new white Hickory uniforms for the first time.

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