In a game that took forever to play thanks to an obscene amount of turnovers and fouls by both teams, the Indiana Pacers were never able to find their rhythm against the Jazz, chasing from behind much of the night before eventually losing, 139-119.
After giving up a season-high tying 137 points to the Kings in their last game, the Pacers gave up a season-worst 139 points to the Jazz, highlighting the defensive disaster the team has been on the current road trip. Forget bouncing back against the Blazers on Sunday, the Pacers have to take it back to the basics and build back up to a solid and consistent level of play.
Tyrese Haliburton gave the team a boost by starting the game and trying to play through an injury (strained groin), but the star guard struggled with 14 points, 4 assists and 3 turnovers. Hali was part of a group that wiped out a double digit deficit in the second quarter to tie the game at 54, giving the Pacers hope for another signature effort after ending the first quarter down 11 points.
But as they did all night when the Pacers made a little run, the Jazz made a bigger run in response. This time Jazz went on a 17-0 run sandwiched around a Pacers timeout after the first nine points. That seemed to be a will killer for the Pacers who were never able to sustain a serious run at the win the rest of the game.
Despite the 258 points scored, this game was ugly and way too long. That’s what happens when the teams combine for 63 fouls, a season high and most fouls in an NBA game since the bubble, according to Andy Larsen. If that wasn’t bad enough, the teams also combined for 42 turnovers! Yes, the Jazz committed 28 fouls, had 24 turnovers and still beat the Pacers by 20.
The Jazz bigs, lead by Lauri Markkanen (24 points, 5 threes) created matchup problems all night. When the Jazz weren’t making threes (15 for 34) they were getting buckets in the paint in a quality effort with seven Utah players scoring in double figures and six with at least 16 points. The Pacers also had seven players in double figures but none over 18 points.
As bad losses go, the one surpassed the last loss to the Kings thanks to the frustrating and discombobulated nature of the game. Life doesn’t get any easier on the road for the Pacers as they head to the house of horrors that has been the Moda Center to play the Blazers in Portland on Sunday.