Indiana could be making things even tougher for opponents soon, too. Vogel said before the game that former All-Star Danny Granger, who once led the Pacers in scoring for five straight seasons, will begin working out Tuesday and could return to practice as soon as Wednesday. Vogel did not say when Granger would return to the rotation. Granger has not played this season because of a strained left calf.
For now, though, fans seem content with the way things are going. During the final minutes, they even serenaded Pacers players with chants of “un-de-feat-ed.”
But the Pacers aren’t content with that.
“We are not looking at this 8-0 start,” said George, the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season. “We want to enjoy it, but we must let our strengths continue to lead us to victory. Everybody helps, everybody is doing their job.”
For Memphis, it was a rough night.
Marc Gasol, who showed his frustration at times during the second half, finished with 15 points and six rebounds. The only other Memphis players to reach double-figures were two guys with Hoosier State ties — Zach Randolph had 12 and Mike Conley added 11.
The Grizzlies shot just 41 percent from the field and were only 6 of 19 from 3-point range, and after a 15-3 run put Memphis in an 80-55 deficit just 83 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies never had a chance.
“They’re the best defensive team in this league, they really compress the paint, it was hard for any of us guards to get in there and make anything happen,” Conley said. “They’ve got a lot of length, they’ve got great guards that play great ‘D’ and they made us take contested shots.”
The Pacers jumped to a 13-8 lead in the opening minutes, scored the final six points of the first quarter to make it 23-16 and then methodically pulled away in the second. Though Memphis closed to 46-39 at halftime, the Pacers put it away with the spurt spurred by George and Stephenson that eventually made it 80-55.