By: Dennis Guillermo
To say point guard D.J. Augustin’s Pacer career has gotten off to a tough start, is an understatement. Signed to run the point and bolster one of the league’s better reserve line-ups, on paper, Augustin has struggled and has averaged career low in points (3.1 ppg) and assists (2.3 assts.), while losing his back-up job along the way in 25 games donning the blue and gold.
During practice this week, Augustin maintained that he approaches each game the same way and continues to work hard and will be ready when called upon. “It’s tough, but we all go through things, and at this level you can’t let it get you down. You got to stay ready and stay professional and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Augustin told NBA Philippines.
As they say, every new year ushers in a fresh start, and on New Year’s Eve, Augustin made the most out of his opportunity after getting the starting nod with George Hill sitting out due to a groin injury.
Augustin scored 7 of the Pacers’ last 9 points, and finished with 17 points and six assists to help lead his team past the Memphis Grizzlies, 88-83, in a match-up of two of the league’s best defensive teams.
“When you get an opportunity to play like I had tonight, you feel more comfortable and I’m appreciative today that I had the opportunity to get that,” Augustin said after the game.
Paul George also chipped in a fine performance on both ends of the court, leading all scorers with 21 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while effectively containing Rudy Gay on the defensive end.
It was the Pacers’ defense that helped carry them through, holding down the Grizzlies to 37.8% shooting from the field, as they rallied from a double-digit deficit in the first half to improve their record to 18-13, and sit on top of the Central Division with a two game lead over the Chicago Bulls.
Two Indiana natives led the Grizzlies in their homecoming, with Marion’s Zach Randolph logging in 21 points and 15 rebounds, and former Lawrence North High School standout Mike Conley adding 9 points, and seven assists.
The Pacers will host the Washington Wizards, owners of the league’s worst record (4-24), on Wednesday to start off 2013.
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