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Rookies lead Pacers to blowout over Grizzlies

Oct 18, 2008 - 1:50 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- If the Indiana Pacers expect to challenge for their first playoff appearance in three years, they will need a lot from their two first-round picks. To that end, what they saw Friday night is certainly a promising sign.

Brandon Rush scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting off the bench and fellow first-rounder Roy Hibbert collected 12, 12 boards and four blocks as the Pacers ran away with a 112-86 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Rush and Hibbert - the 13th and 17th overall picks of this year's draft, respectively - helped put the game away in the fourth quarter after the first unit staked them to a double-digit lead. Rush drained a pair of 3-pointers in the final period and Hibbert added three buckets, including a jump hook that made it 92-67 with 9:44 remaining.

Adding a strong rookie class was only part of the Pacers' busy offseason. They also brought in T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack to help man their backcourt, and they did the job Friday as the team shot 49 percent (40-of-81). The Pacers dished out assists on 31 of their 40 field goals, including Jack's team-high seven.

Ford, acquired from the Toronto Raptors in the deal that sent Jermaine O'Neal north of the border, helped the Pacers (3-2) take over in the third. The fifth-year point guard scored five points in an 11-0 run that turned an eight-point ballgame into a lopsided affair. Ford finished with 11 points and six assists.

The Grizzlies (2-4), who have reached the 100-point mark just once in six games this preseason, saw their offense continue to struggle. Rudy Gay scored 19 and rookie O.J. Mayo added 17, but the rest of the team was cold all night. The team shot just 34 percent (31-of-91) from the floor and turned the ball over 18 times.

Journeyman guard Stephen Graham chipped in with 16 points off the bench for the Pacers, while Danny Granger - the team's leading scorer a year ago at 19.6 points per game - added 12.

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