So far, nothing can stop the Indiana Pacers.
Not injuries, not division rivals, not Western Conference powers — not even a frenetic schedule.
Playing their fifth game in seven days, the Pacers showed no signs of fatigue — and in fact displayed boundless energy — in routing the Memphis Grizzlies 95-79 Monday night in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
In the process, the Pacers — who had six players in double figures — amplified their best start in franchise history by improving to 8-0.
Paul George scored a game-high 23 points, and Lance Stephenson had his first career triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. His rebounds tied a career-high, and his assists were a career-high.
George Hill, playing through a sore hip that sidelined him for three games earlier in the month, had 13 points, and Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench.
Roy Hibbert had a comparatively quiet night with three points and seven rebounds but blocked five shots, one more than his league-leading 4.2 per game average heading in. He now has 35 on the season.
In total, it was all too much for the Grizzlies (3-4), who were in the Western Conference Finals last year, to cope with — as has been the case with every Indiana opponent to date.
“It was probably our most complete game,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “It’s really confidence, particularly defensive confidence. That’s an encouraging thing, and it rolls over to our offense.”
The league’s top defensive team, the Pacers limited Memphis to 41 percent shooting and allowed only three players to reach double figures. Moreover, the Pacers — who allow an NBA-low 85 points per game — outrebounded the Grizzlies 45-32.
If there was a consolation for the Grizzlies, they shot slightly better than the 38 percent average allowed by the Pacers. Indiana is the only team in the league holding opponents below 40 percent.
Marc Gasol led Memphis with 15 points. Former Marian High School star Zach Randolph had 12 points, and former Lawrence North standout Mike Conley had 11.
Overall, the Pacers’ performance exemplified why they are — for the time being, at least — the NBA’s best team. Two nights earlier, they won at Brooklyn, which is expected to be one of the East’s top teams. On Nov. 6, they routed visiting Central Division rival Chicago, 97-80, which, too, is expected to contend for the East title.
But in eight games, the Pacers have firmly established themselves as the No. 1 team in the conference. Every other team in the East, including two-time defending NBA champion Miami, has at least three losses.
Heading into Monday night, Philadelphia led the Atlantic Division with a 4-3 record. Miami led the Southeast Divison at 4-3. Indiana’s nearest challenge in the Central Divison was Cleveland at 3-4.
Indiana’s next game is Friday against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.