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The Indiana Pacers have pushed their way to one of the better marks in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are coming off a tough loss on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies have tumbled to one of the worst marks in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies were able to snap their six-game skid by moving past the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road.
Monday's contest is a chance for both teams to grab some much-needed momentum.
Pacers fueled by their defensive prowessThe Pacers had gotten off to a rough start out of the gate to the 2019-20 season, but they have bounced back as the year has worn on working their way to one of the better records in the Eastern Conference. The primary reason for their push up the standings has been the play of their defense that has been among the top in the league, giving up 104.6 points per contest. This has been the case as of late as they allowed 106 points or fewer three times in the last contests. Their defense has been their calling card over the last few seasons. It has been a major reason for them grabbing wins in 12 of their last 16 games while outscoring their opponents by an average of 8.0 points per game over that span.
Malcolm don't miss 🔥 pic.twitter.com/awhIGmrf4T— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 1, 2019
The Pacers have had some stable and balanced production offensively that has been led by strong play from offseason addition point guard Malcolm Brogdon, who is leading the team with 19.4 points and 7.9 assists while shooting 47.7 percent from the floor. Brogdon has tallied more than 20 points nine times this season, including reaching that mark in two out of the last five contests. Meanwhile, big man Domantas Sabonis has stepped firmly into a consistent offensive role, averaging 18.5 points and 13.0 rebounds while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor. Sabonis has been a double-double machine this year, which has seen him reach that mark in his last four consecutive games. Given that they have had strong collective play offensively while being one of the more stout defensive squads should push them past a short-handed Grizzlies team on the road.
Grizzlies stumbling south in a hurryAs the season has progressed along, the Grizzlies have continued to head south with their lack of consistent play on the court. They have had some major issues flare up with their lack of stable play defensively giving up 117.6 points per contest. That has seen them give up north of 110 points three times in the last six games. That has been a huge reason for their shortcomings on the court that has already put them in this tough spot. What hasn't helped their cause is that promising rookie point guard Ja Morant is now sidelined on a week-by-week basis due to back spasms that stem from getting a knee in the back from a cameraman after tumbling out of bounds.
☑️ 𝟕 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐠𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) December 2, 2019
☑️ 𝟮𝟳 𝘁𝗼𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝟰𝟭 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗙𝗚'𝘀
☑️𝟏𝟔 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐬
Check out some highlights from our win in Minnesota today 📹 pic.twitter.com/Noqjp2Iyrd
Morant has been the driving force on both ends of the court for the Grizzlies that had given the team some hope to push forward. However, his absence leaves them with a significant void that will be hard to make up. That is especially the case against a surging team in the Pacers. That has put a more significant workload onto forward Jaren Jackson Jr.'s shoulders to become a bigger offensive factor. Jackson Jr. is currently averaging 15.1 points on 45.4 percent shooting from the floor and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies have been a dumpster fire without Morant and that will continue to be the case against the Pacers on Monday night, which will be put on a greater scale on the second leg of a back-to-back set.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Memphis is 4-15 ATS in their last 19 games playing on zero days rest
- Memphis is 1-5 ATS in their last six games against the Central division.
- Memphis is 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games against a team with a road winning% of less than .400.
- Indiana is 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games playing on one day's rest.
- Indiana is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a losing straight-up record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Grizzlies may be coming off a much-needed win, but they are set to face one of the better defensive teams in the league. That should put them in a tight spot of keeping up offensively with the Pacers' balanced offensive attack. That alone should be difficult, especially with Ja Morant out of the mix for the next week or so due to nagging back spasms. Morant has been Memphis' driving force offensively, and with him, out of the mix, it will put them in a spot that will prove too tricky dig their way out off on Monday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
At the same token, both of these teams have had their fair share of struggles offensively throughout the year. The Grizzlies have been on the lower end of the spectrum even when Morant was on the floor. With him likely set to miss the game, it makes scoring that much difficult without their primary scorer and passer. Meanwhile, the Pacers defense should have a significant impact against the undermanned Grizzlies in spite of being on their home floor. Indiana has had a balanced scoring attack, but that won't be enough to push the game past the over/under line in this interconference matchup.