Utah Jazz fight for four quarters, lose to Indiana Pacers 95-86

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Game #20 -- Pacers (16-2) vs. Jazz (4-15)
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
7:00 pm (MT) -- TV: ROOT Sports, RADIO: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

NBA Regular Season Game #20:

Indiana Pacers 95 @ Utah Jazz 86

December Game Streams / Indy Cornrows (SBN) / Pacers vs Jazz coverage

Can G-Time evolve into Miller Time, and beat the Pacers?

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Okay, first of all I wanted to say I am proud of our little team playing with 2 of our best rotation players, and leading for the majority of the game against a team that went to a Eastern Conference Game 7 last year, and is leading the entire NBA in wins this year. The Jazz had the lead early in the first quarter based upon unselfish play and solid defensive rebounding (just like in the Houston Rockets game). I had anticipated the Pacers to come back strong and assert control but they were playing from behind and our guys seemed to be holding them off despite missing Marvin Williams (Mad Dog Marvin) and Jeremy Evans (Elevator Evans). The Jazz led 48-47 at the half. I presume much of this had to do with the Jazz moving the ball on offense, and with the Pacers shooting so poorly from downtown. (They would end up bringing their percentage up at the end of the game with two late threes, and ended up going 3/16 for the game -- 18.8 3pt%) In the first half the F5 lineup of Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter played for about one minute. Total. Whoop-dee-doo!

The second half was a lot closer than we expected AFTER Derrick Favors got into foul trouble. Because, you know, #basketballreasons. Late in the game Tyrone Corbin brought in Andris Biedrins and Mike Harris to muck things up. A braver coach perhaps would have tried a different lineup that had better quality players in a different configuration instead of trying to 'match up' with the best team in the league but do so with guys who shouldn't even be in the league anymore. Of course, it would be insane to expect some Don Nelson level stuff from Ty. Not having two of our power forwards really hurt, as they are pretty much bringing 20 and 10 off the bench this year for the team. (18.7 ppg and 9.6 rpg)

Indiana kept things close by playing their game. David West and Luis Scola kept hitting spot up midrange jumpers as a consequence of Pacers dribble penetration. Roy Hibbert clogged up the paint and made shots near the rim. And forward superstar Paul George led his team in scoring, but did it the hard way. George went 1/8 from downtown and needed 20 shots to score 19 points. So while he did produce, he did so at a very poor rate. Kudos to the Jazz for that.

Indy pulled away in the fourth quarter but we kept it under 10 to the best team in the league while bereft of two of our top rotation guys this year. Moral victory.

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Three Positives:

  • Despite having fewer bigs ready to play Derrick Favors (22 points, 13 rebounds, 1 steal) and Enes Kanter (20 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block) showed up big against the BIG Pacers, the best defensive team in the league. The pair also managed to go 8-8 from downtown. It was a good bounce back game for Enes, and a strong showing on offense for Derrick. Both missed some easy shots they should have just dunked though. There's room for improvement.
  • Did I mention the solid defense against Paul George? He got open a few times off the ball in transition in the fourth quarter, but he did score -5 ppg from his season average, and had a stinker of a night -- 19 points (again, 20 shots, 1-8 from downtown), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turn overs, and 2 steals
  • AT&G (Alec, Trey, and Gordon) all had solid games as well. Trey just missed out on his first double double as a pro with 13 points, 9 assists (1 turn over), 2 rebounds, and he made 2 threes. Gordon added 12 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 threes. Alec, off the bench, came through with 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Alec had some crazy finishes and And-1s. Gordon played solid defense. And Trey, well, Trey is just a point guard's point guard.

Three Negatives:

  • Shouldn't the Jazz be getting to the line more at home? They only got there 18 times despite having a bunch of athletic guys who can slash . . . I think this is an Xs and Os problem.
  • There is no one else contributing right now than the F5. Rudy Gobert played a useless 7 minutes and did nothing. Andris Biedrins played a useless 4 minutes. Mike Harris played a useless 8 minutes. Diante Garrett, who had a great opening game, was pretty useless tonight as well. Brandon Rush finally played, made one shot, but otherwise didn't do much in 10 minutes of action. This "useless" group totaled: 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. They played 38 minutes. We need more support, and it can't just all be on Marvin and Jeremy
  • Richard Jefferson, man. He is in a downswing right now, hope he gets a chance to break out of it.

Bottom line -- lost by less than 10 to the best team in the league without two key players and no help from anyone but 5 guys on their rookie contracts. Not bad. Getting better. Keep it up. GO JAZZ!

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