The Utah Jazz were lying in wait for the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night and once the Jazz got it going early it looked like the Pacers might just lay down with their mind on the warmer climes of Phoenix on Friday night.
The Jazz raced out to a 35-17 first quarter lead with everyone making shots from all over the place. And when they did miss, the long front court dominated the offensive glass until they scored. Deron Williams had a bounce in his step all night and when he's knocking down outside shots like he was early, the Jazz guard becomes nearly impossible to defend.
Meanwhile the Pacers were poor in every phase of the game. Along with the defense and rebounding issues, their road legs were drawing a lot of front iron on the open shots they did get on offense.
Looked like one of those nights where the Pacers would ease-off, rest some legs and live to fight another day, like old-school Andre Agassi tanking a set to have enough energy to finish an opponent in the fifth set. But the Pacers flashed a little pride as Darren Collison ignited a second quarter run that fed life into the Pacers game, bringing the deficit down to 8 at the half.
Early in the third quarter, a Josh McRoberts 3-pointer (yeah, one of those strange nights) cut the lead to 3. Ball game on, right?
Well, not for long. Deron Williams imposed his will on the game as the Jazz closed the third with a 9-0 run and before long the lead was up to 20 and the game was sealed up, mercifully coming to an end as the Jazz finished off the Pacers with a 110-88 win.
Between D-Will controlling the game with the ball and Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko controlling the glass (they had 10 offensive rebounds), the Pacers were over-matched, looking very much like a road-weary team on an empty tank.
Hopefully, a day off in the warm Phoenix sun will re-energize the Pacers to close out this trip with a strong effort on Friday night.
After the jump, a few thoughts on the sloppy loss.
- Really, Deron Williams was in top form for the Jazz. His gaudy number reveal as much and in this case the numbers do not lie. D-Will had 24 points, 16 assists and ZERO turnovers.
- In contrast, Darren Collison finished with 16 points, 5 assists and 6 turnovers. The 16 points led the Pacers in scoring, while the 6 turnovers also was a team-high. The Pacers ended up with 18 turnovers on the night.
- Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert shared team-high scoring honors for the Pacers with only 15 points. As a team, the Pacers shot a respectable 45.5% from the floor but they had 32 fewer FGAs than the Jazz. Wait a minute, let me check that again...yep, the Jazz had 32 more shots than the Pacers (98 to 66). 12 more offensive rebounds and 11 fewer turnovers will do that for a team. Goodness.
- Danny Granger struggled to get much going all night, finishing with 14 points and only making 1 of 6 3-pointers. Once DC ignited a run in the second quarter, Granger started getting it going, as well. A bad foul on Kirilenko though, forced Granger to the bench with 3 fouls and he struggled to finish in the lane the rest of the night.
- Hard to do much hand wringing over this loss. The Jazz are a good team and they came to play tonight, while the Pacers didn't have an answer for them.
- Former Brownsburg and Butler star, Gordon Hayward played a couple of garbage time minutes and finished out the scoring for the Jazz by knocking down a three-pointer.