Pacers gaining confidence heading into matchup with Grizzlies
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo likes how his team has been performing but doesn’t want to get carried away.
Indiana has won four of the last five games and seven out of 10.
“We have to take it one game at a time, live in the moment,” Oladipo said. “We have to get ready for Memphis and they’re playing well and we got to be ready. So that is going to be another game where we need everybody.”
The Pacers (28-23) will play host to the Grizzlies (18-31) on Wednesday night.
Indiana’s spirits were bolstered by the performance of center Myles Turner in Monday night’s 105-96 triumph over visiting Charlotte. Turner scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting off the bench in his second game back after missing nine contests with a right elbow injury. Domantas Sabonis has continued to start in Turner’s spot.
“We’re going to get back to Myles in that starting unit,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan, who expects Turner to start Wednesday. “We wanted to bring him along slowly.”
Turner said he felt more comfortable after being limited to 11 minutes in large part because of foul trouble in his first game.
“It was good to have an impact get back to playing my way back into shape,” Turner said.
McMillan likes playing Sabonis and Turner, and sometimes they are on the floor together.
“I like the combination,” McMillan said. “They both are very effective in what they do. Myles is more of a pick and pop center and when you are playing against bigs like (Charlotte’s Dwight) Howard, who are going to be in the paint, they don’t get out to those shooters. A lot of times it can give you some open looks. And Domas is a center that can pick and roll. He can pop as well, but he does a good job of rolling to the basket.”
Turner said he loves playing with Sabonis.
“I kind of feel bad because he does all the dirty work and then kind of leaves the easy stuff for me,” Turner said. “I think we play very well off each other.”
The Grizzlies announced Saturday that point guard Mike Conley Jr. is done for the season after appearing in only 12 games. Conley, from Indianapolis, will have surgery this week to shave a bone protrusion in his left heel.
Tyreke Evans is averaging a team-high 19.5 points for the Grizzlies. Evans will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and there is speculation he might be traded before the Feb. 8 deadline.
Evans scored 27 off the bench in Monday night’s 120-109 victory over visiting Phoenix. Evans had missed the previous two games with an illness.
“I was just trying to go in the game with the mind frame of playing hard,” Evans told Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I treated it like a regular game day. The most important thing is to go out there and have fun out there.”
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who is averaging 17.9 points, said it’s hard to keep everyone focused with the trade talk.
“I believe if you’re trying to be a good team and building that for next year, you will need some of those players,” Gasol told the Commercial Appeal. “You can’t worry about how much they are going to make or how much you won’t be able to afford guys. I think sometimes you got to let it play out and convince them that this is the right place to be.”
The visiting Pacers won the first meeting 116-113 on Nov. 15. Indiana is seeking its first season sweep since the 2012-13 season.