April 15, 2014

The Indiana Pacers may be the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference, but their defense has been the major indicator of success versus failure.

Jordan Hill has provided another, though on a much smaller scale.

Hill looks for another solid effort as the Pacers go for a fourth straight win on the strength of their defensive play Saturday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Indiana (16-9) scores an average of 103.8 points to rank sixth in the NBA and first in the East and has been consistent in that category regardless of outcome, scoring 104.7 per game in victories and 102.1 in defeats.

The Pacers aren't nearly as close to an even split on the other end of the court, surrendering a league-high 111.8 points per loss and ranking among the NBA's best with 91.2 per win. It's the widest disparity in the league at 20.6 points.

It's been on full display while Indiana has split the last eight games by allowing an average of 87.8 points in the wins and 123.5 in the losses.

The club held Brooklyn to 41.9 percent shooting in Friday's 104-97 win to complete a 3-0 homestand. Hill scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Pacers improved to 5-0 when he gets a double-double.

"When he came here, I knew what to expect out of him," Paul George said of acquiring Hill from the Lakers via free agency in the offseason. "I don't think he's been getting enough credit for what he's been doing."

Hill is averaging 9.6 points and 7.8 boards on the season, but he's putting up 13.3 and 10.0 marks over the past three games. He's yet to become a regular starter in Indiana with George and C.J. Miles getting the nod at forward and Ian Mahinmi at center.

George matched his career high with seven turnovers Friday, but he made up for it with 23 points and 10 rebounds. He was averaging 16.0 points and 5.3 boards while shooting 34.0 percent from the floor over the three prior games.

George had 18 points while Indiana fell 112-103 at home to Memphis (14-14) on Oct. 29 to lose a fourth straight matchup. Hill added four points and six rebounds in one of his three starts this season.

The Grizzlies have dropped four of their last five games after shooting 37.5 percent from the floor in a 97-88 loss at Dallas on Friday.

"In one quarter we play great defense and really good offense and then, all of a sudden, we stop doing that," said center Marc Gasol, who had 16 points and eight rebounds. "Every time we get hit, it takes a long time for us to get up."

Gasol is averaging 24.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in the last three meetings with Indiana. He was one of seven Grizzlies to score in double digits Oct. 29, leading the way with 20 points and eight boards.

Mike Conley, who had 13 points and 10 assists in that matchup, has averaged 17.0 points while shooting 50.7 percent over his last five home meetings.

It's unclear if Tony Allen will miss a fifth straight game with a right knee injury. Courtney Lee has replaced him in the lineup, averaging 12.5 points in four games.

You May Like