Lance Stephenson issued the challenge before the season for the Indiana Pacers to win their first 10 games of the season. Thanks to his first career triple-double, the Pacers are just two wins away from reaching that goal. Stephenson scored 13 points with 12 assists and 11 rebounds to lead the Pacers (8-0) to a 95-79 win over the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"I'm having a lot of fun," said Stephenson, who committed just one turnover. "We've got so many pieces that this game is fun. Everybody is making shots. Everybody is aware. Everybody is great on defense. When we play together, we're great."
"Winning basketball games is about your confidence in your team's abilities," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. "(Lance) definitely gives us an edge. He gives us a swagger. He goes after it."
The Pacers led 46-39 at halftime. Stephenson was already well on the way to a triple-double, with 8 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
"(A triple-double) is real difficult, but not for a guy like Lance," said Paul George, who led six Pacers in double figures with 23 points. "He's able to push the ball and cause guys to crowd the paint. He's able to find guys on the perimeter for easy shots. And he rebounds the ball well for his position. You know he can get his own shot as well. Tonight he was able to put it all together."
The Pacers honored veterans and held a ceremony to swear in new Air Force recruits during halftime of the Veterans Day game. Stephenson wore blue and white sneakers with red shoelaces, a salute to military men and women.
"Definitely for the veterans," said Stephenson. "I just wanted to give back and thank them for all the stuff that they do for us and our country."
The best defensive team in the NBA outrebounded the Grizzlies by 13 and blocked 9 shots. NBA leader Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with five swats.
Marion, Indiana, native Zach Randolph scored 12 points and former Lawrence North High School standout Mike Conley scored 11 points for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol led Memphis with 15 points.
The Pacers are the seventh NBA team since 2000 to start a season with eight consecutive wins. The Pacers try to extend the streak to nine games Friday when they host the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:00 p.m.