A promising 10-4 start for the Indiana Pacers deflated almost immediately as they surrounded a pair of 7-0 runs to the Utah Jazz, turning a positive into a double figure deficit. The Pacers trailed by 12 after the first quarter, a gap they wound up chasing the rest of the night.
The Jazz pushed the lead to 17 in the third quarter and Indiana’s best response of the night was halted at seven. A 10-point deficit heading into the fourth could have been manageable, but a 9-0 Jazz run to start the fourth put the nail in the coffin, sending the Pacers to a frustrating, lopsided home loss.
Throughout the night, the Pacers were blindsided by the Utah defense, holding Indiana to just 38.6% shooting on the night. Of course, the biggest eyesore came on their three point shooting, finishing a disastrous 3-23 from deep, while Utah put in 11. Meanwhile, the Pacers defense struggled with Utah’s pick and roll game, which led to 30 Utah assists to just 12 for the Pacers.
Four Pacers reached double figures, led by Myles Turner with 24 points on 10-14 shooting, but like with most of the Pacers, struggled to even win his matchup, with Rudy Gobert scoring 23 points and 13 rebounds. Turner did have three blocks (including one on Gobert), but despite his own positive play (as the only Pacer with a + in the +/-), didn’t receive reliable help despite three other double figure scorers.
Victor Oladipo finished with 13 points on 6-19 shooting, falling on his shooting elbow early. It’s hard to tell how much the elbow affected his night, but it seemed contagious. Oladipo had five steals, but the Pacers only scored two off of those turnovers, finishing with only 10 fast break points on the night.
Bojan Bogdanovic had a pair of steals himself, which he did capitalize on for four of his 13. Like Oladipo, however, he went 0-fer from three point range on four attempts where Oladipo missed three. Cory Joseph hit Indiana’s first three pointer just over four minutes into the third quarter, finishing with 12.
The Pacers actually outrebounded Utah on the night, including a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass. This led to Indiana’s biggest edge of the night, winning 16-4 in second chance opportunities, which helped the Pacers at least stay within 20. Trevor Booker had a pair of offensive rebounds (leading to four points) in his Pacers debut.
It’s difficult to gauge his worth to this team outside of those plays on a night when the Jazz really had it going and the Pacers, especially the bench, had no punch to speak of. But the Pacers did catch a glimpse of what he can bring on the glass, which will no doubt be a positive step for Indiana.
Off the bench, however, Domantas Sabonis had eight of the bench’s 12 points as the seocnd unit was outscored by Jae Crowder alone. Much of that was to do with the poor play of Lance Stephenson and Joe Young, who combined for 0 points on 0-8 shooting and five turnovers. The Pacers played relatively clean in terms of turnovers, actually winning the turnover battle, but were still outscored 20-15.
It’s easy to look at how well Utah has played of late (15-2 and eight straight road wins entering) and chalk this up as an understandable loss, but that doesn’t excuse the overall lack of execution the Pacers had to allow the Jazz to control the game on both ends of the floor. It seemed simply making a few threes could have shifted the momentum in Indiana’s favor, but in the face of Utah’s 9-0 run to start the fourth, complete with three point plays and circus shots, it simply did not look like Indiana’s night.
The Pacers will wrap up their home stand on Friday when they host the Atlanta Hawks. As the Jazz appeared to remember what Indiana did to them on their home court, the Pacers need to do the same in response to Atlanta knocking them off just days ago.