After an impressive first half where the Indiana Pacers controlled the game against the Utah Jazz, getting a boost from Myles Turner en route to a 49-42 halftime lead, things went south for the Pacers as soon as the teams exited the locker room for the second half. The Jazz scored the first 14 of the half, using a 16-2 run to built a 56-51 advantage that was all Utah needed to run away from Indiana.
The Pacers missed their first eight shots of the second half, with Monta Ellis putting in the first points of the half for Indiana at the 6:28 mark of the third quarter. Things didn't improve for Indiana at that point, with the Jazz building on their lead holding a 70-61 advantage heading into the fourth, where the Pacers committed 10 turnovers, allowing the Jazz to blowout Indiana by the final of 97-76.
For those keeping track, the Indiana Pacers only scored 27 second half points, less than the 29 they put up in the first quarter. The Jazz not only capitalized on Indiana's plethora of turnovers, scoring 30 off of 24 Pacers miscues, but allowed no leeway in the paint, with Indiana scoring just 26 points in the paint, taking away easy opportunities at the basket, and limiting Indiana to just a single free throw attempt in the second half.
Indiana entered tonight's game 28th in the league in rebounding and did little to help their case, getting waxed on the glass by Utah, who outrebounded Indiana by 13. The Pacers' rebounding efforts had almost no shot against Rudy Gobert, who had 17 on his own, pulling in five of Utah's 15 on the night. Ball movement was also a complete mess, especially in that second half. Indiana totaled just 10 assists on their 28 shots.
On the bright side, despite another completely inept second half defensively, the Pacers did have their best "defensive" half of the season, "only" allowing 55 points to the Jazz, down from 69 and 62 in the first two games. As for real bright spots, there weren't many, but the first half play of Myles Turner was a huge bright spot. Turner had 10 points in the first half, looking comfortable and confident with his shot.
Monta Ellis reached double figures for the first time as a Pacers with 12 and George Hill led Indiana with 17, looking like the leader on the floor with his play early in the fourth quarter. Hill did have a team high seven turnovers though, but was also the team's leading rebounder with six. C.J. Miles and his hot start hit the skids on a 2-9 shooting effort, blanking from behind the arc at 0-6.
Paul George also shot better tonight, going 6-11 for his 16 points, but there's frustration mounting quickly for not only George, but the whole team, who carried an especially despondent body language for the third game of the season. The learning curve for the Pacers is proving much more taxing than possibly anticipated, nothing seems to be working, and the Pacers continue to search for the first win.
They'll hit the road for that first win against the Detroit Pistons, who claim impressive wins over Utah, Atlanta, and Chicago in their 3-0 start. Hard to peg must wins this early, but the Pacers would be wise to avoid falling to 0-4 and giving up a four game lead out of the gate to a team they expect to be competing for a playoff spot with, assuming of course the Pacers still expect to be competing for a playoff spot.