The Memphis Grizzlies opened their season in embarrassing fashion.
While the Indiana Pacers didn’t lose in lopsided fashion, their offense also left much to be desired.
Both teams enter Thursday night’s matchup at Bankers Life Fieldhouse trying to avoid 0-2 starts.
Memphis lost 106-76 against Cleveland on Wednesday, suffering its worst home setback since a 30-point defeat to Boston on March 8, 2008. The Grizzlies hardly looked the part of the fifth seed in the rough-and-tumble Western Conference from last season, unable to compete with the Cavaliers despite catching Cleveland on the second night of a back-to-back.
Memphis’ trademark interior game was sub-par with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph scoring 12 points apiece and combining for 13 rebounds. They combined to average 18.3 last season.
The Grizzlies, who ranked fourth in the league over the last three years with a plus-2.3 rebounding margin, were outrebounded 54-40 and outscored 48-36 in the paint. They led the NBA with 47.1 points in the paint per game in 2014-15.
"Tough game for the home team," coach Dave Joerger said. "We did not have any timing whatsoever. We made a lot of uncharacteristic errors."
Indiana was also outmuscled in a 106-99 loss at Toronto, getting outrebounded 50-40 and outscored 46-36 in the paint.
Memphis shot 35.4 percent from the field with the starting backcourt of Courtney Lee and Mike Conley combining to go 4 for 17. The Grizzlies started 4 of 25 from the field, trailed 53-32 at halftime and became the first team in the shot clock era with 10 points or fewer in the first quarter of a season opener.
While they were only 2 of 16 from 3-point range, they also surrendered 13 3-pointers. Cleveland’s Richard Jefferson even cautioned not to overreact to the Grizzlies’ performance, however.
"This is not an indication," Jefferson said. "Memphis should not be worried."
Indiana (0-1) had won four straight openers before shooting 37.2 percent in Wednesday’s loss.
Paul George scored 17 points but was 4 of 17. He has averaged 10.0 points per game while shooting 33.3 percent in seven games dating back to last season since returning from a broken log, though he added 12 rebounds and eight assists against the Raptors.
"He was good at finding people," coach Frank Vogel said. "Sometimes you’re going to have a tough shooting night and you’ve got to impact the game in other ways. I thought he did that."
George has also struggled historically against the Grizzlies, averaging 11.4 points on 34.6 percent shooting.
The Pacers were led by George Hill’s 19 points, while new acquisition Monta Ellis, who was supposed to add scoring punch to Indiana’s backcourt, struggled with nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Indiana hasn’t been 0-2 since dropping its first three in 2009-10 en route to its worst finish in 21 years, while Memphis, which opened 21-4 in 2014-15, has lost its first two games once in the last seven seasons.
The Grizzlies got off to a hot start on the road last season, winning their first four and going 24-17, the fifth-best mark in the NBA.
Memphis has won eight of the last 11 meetings and three in a row. Randolph’s 19.9 scoring average against the Pacers is his third-highest against one team.