USA TODAY Sports
The top two defensive teams in the league clash on Martin Luther King Day when the Indiana Pacers take on the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Indiana Pacers and the Memphis Grizzlies will meet on Monday in a matchup of the top two scoring defenses in the NBA. Both teams are allowing opponents to score less than 90 points a game, so offense could be at a premium.
The Pacers won the first matchup between the two teams, 88-83, in Indiana back on New Year's Eve. Paul George led the way in that matchup with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. The Pacers have won seven of ten and are looking for their first sweep of Memphis since 2007. Indiana is currently 25-16 and in third place in the Eastern Conference.
The Grizzlies have won two straight overall and find themselves in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 25-13 record. Zach Randolph had 21 points and 15 rebounds in the earlier matchup between the two teams and has averaged 24.5 points and 12.2 rebounds in his last 13 games against the Pacers. Memphis has won 10 of its last 11 games at home while holding opponents to less than 90 points. The Grizzlies are 15-5 at home this season.
George vs. Gay
George has enjoyed a breakout campaign for the Indiana Pacers who have been without leading scorer Danny Granger for the entire season. George is putting up career-highs in points, rebounds and assists in his third season while also emerging at the team's new leader. George is coming off of a 31 points, six rebound effort in a win over the Houston Rockets last Friday.
Rudy Gay has been dogged by trade rumors the entire season and his numbers have plummeted in the process. Gay is still averaging a team-best 17.6 points per game, but has seen his field goal percentage drop to just 42 percent. That is the lowest percentage for Gay since his rookie season back in 2007.
The matchup between Gay and George will be a good game within the game and may actually determine the outcome. George is probably the better defender of the two, but Gay is explosive as a scorer and is capable of putting George to the test. Gay scored just 11 points on 3-of-17 shooting in the earlier meeting, but prior to that, averaged over 27 points a game in the previous three meetings.
Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on ESPN. The Grizzlies are favored by five points, according to OddsShark.