National Basketball Association
Memphis at Indiana
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, February 24, 2017
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Plenty of teams seemed to want to pry Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George away prior to Thursday's trade deadline, but he's staying in Indianapolis for the rest of the season. George will try to keep the Pacers on the path to the postseason when they return from the All-Star break and host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.
The Grizzlies, who already have three max-contract players on the roster in All-Star center Marc Gasol, point guard Mike Conley and small forward Chandler Parsons, were largely absent from the trade rumors over the past week and feel like they have enough pieces to compete as long as they remain healthy the rest of the way. "My knees feel good," Parsons, who missed 31 of the first 58 games due to knee problems, told reporters after the team returned to practice on Wednesday. "It's good to get back in the gym with everybody, and practice was really sharp today." The Pacers enter the stretch drive sixth in the East but just three games clear of ninth-place Milwaukee in a tightly-packed conference. "We need to get better," Indiana coach Nate McMillan told reporters. "We certainly need to get better. What we did last week (losing six in a row before the break) was not good enough."
7 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Memphis), FSN IndianaABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (34-24):
Parsons signed a four-year, $94 million deal with Memphis last summer but is averaging just 6.5 points on 35 percent shooting as the team keeps a close eye on his minutes when he does take the court. "Obviously, I'm going through an injury," Parsons told reporters. "It's not easy. Fans and (the media) don't see half the stuff I do behind closed doors and even on this last trip (over the All-Star break) I had a team trainer with me every single day working out for two or three hours every day. ... I want to play more. I want to play better, but I understand it's a process and health is everything with me." Veteran Vince Carter, 40, is trying to pick up some of the scoring from the wing in place of Parsons but is averaging eight points on 38.7 percent shooting in 24 minutes.ABOUT THE PACERS (29-28):
Indiana was focused on internal improvements ahead of the trade deadline as it attempts to get back to being the team that won seven straight games before the six-game slide entering the break. "We've got some tough games coming up here right after this break, starting with Memphis, and we have to get better," McMillan said. "And (we need) for each guy to look at themselves and this team and what we're asking of them and see how they can help make it better. Things that you bring to the floor, the things that you do on and off the court, we all need to look at ourselves and find a way to make it better." The Pacers, who lost to Cleveland (twice), Washington (twice), San Antonio and Milwaukee during the slide, are looking at another tough stretch with a five-game road trip following Friday's home game.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Gasol showed off his wide range of skills with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 21 minutes during Sunday's All-Star Game.
2. Indiana PF Thaddeus Young (wrist) is questionable after missing the last eight games.
3. Memphis took the last five in the series.PREDICTION:
Pacers 103, Grizzlies 100
Stats and Records