National Basketball Association
Pacers-Grizzlies Preview
National Basketball Association

Pacers-Grizzlies Preview

Published Apr. 15, 2015 1:32 a.m. ET

After maintaining control of their destiny, the Indiana Pacers are a win away from the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference and a first-round date with Atlanta.

The Memphis Grizzlies, meanwhile, have already punched their postseason ticket but are staring down several scenarios to determine who they'll play and where they open.

With their fates very much undecided, the Pacers and Grizzlies meet Wednesday night at FedEx Forum in the regular-season finale for both clubs.

The Pacers (38-43) were in danger of falling into a position where they would have needed a win at Memphis and some help, but they rallied in the fourth against Washington at home Tuesday before prevailing 99-95 in two overtimes for a sixth straight win.


C.J. Miles scored 25 points and George Hill added 24 for Indiana, which trailed by nine with 7:07 to go after a sloppy first half. Paul George logged a season-high 17:46 and hit a 20-foot jumper to tie it at 85 with 22.4 seconds to go in the first overtime.

"Just all-out heart, and determination, and will, and perseverance, and not quitting," coach Frank Vogel said. "We got down so many times and had so many opportunities to give in. They just persevered through it."

The victory kept the Pacers in complete control as they try to reach the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, though they also own the luxury of securing a berth with a loss if Brooklyn also loses at home against Orlando.

If Indiana loses and the Nets win, Brooklyn will head down south to face the Hawks.

The task for the Pacers is one that requires reversing a downward trend in Memphis, where they lost for the fifth time in six visits with an 82-71 defeat on March 22, 2014. They also lost 97-89 to the Grizzlies at home Oct. 31 in their second game of the season.

Indiana may feel confident given the Grizzlies' injury woes, including a sprained ankle Marc Gasol suffered Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, but this game is not at all meaningless for Memphis (54-27), which has a shot to open the playoffs at home.

Three weeks ago, the Grizzlies appeared to be marching toward the No. 2 seed in the West, but six losses in 10 games ended their shot at taking the Southwest Division. Their recent slide was due in part to some key injuries, but it also coincided with San Antonio's 11-game win streak and an 8-3 stretch by Houston.

The late-season swoon continued with a 111-107 loss at Golden State on Monday that wasn't as close as the score indicated. Memphis had allowed 93 points entering the fourth before its reserves sparked a 41-18 surge in the final 12 minutes.

"We didn't compete," said Gasol, who had just six points and four rebounds in 21 minutes. "I don't know if everybody realized how important that game was."

In addition to Gasol, forward Jeff Green (lower-back tightness) also played through injury, while point guard Mike Conley (sprained foot) and swingman Tony Allen (strained hamstring) sat out. It's unknown if Conley and Allen will return for this contest.

With the Spurs and Rockets tied atop the division, a bevy of complicated scenarios exist that could land Memphis the fifth seed if it wins. In that event, the Grizzlies will open the playoffs at home against Northwest-champion Portland.

The more likely outcome, however, will be earning the sixth seed and a first-round matchup against the Clippers with Game 1 at Staples Center. There are also slim possibilities for Memphis to open the postseason at San Antonio or Houston.


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