For much of the game the scoring margin was slim. There was a fair amount of trading buckets or collective cold stretches. Utah led by just 2 points at the half.
As Mike Smith put it on the broadcast, the game was “waiting for a protagonist”. While many players like Lauri Markkanen, Aaron Nesmith, Collin Sexton, and Isaiah Jackson made their mark in the contest, it was Jordan Clarkson and Tyrese Haliburton that dueled for the “W”.
Mid-way through the fourth quarter, the Jazz built a sizeable lead that indicated a cruise-control win. In response to a 12 point lead, the Pacers surged back, cutting the lead to just two points with less than a minute remaining.
Haliburton was cooking, scoring 12 points in the comeback stretch including step-back 3’s and acrobatic finishes at the rim. Clarkson fought fire with fire, scoring 7 points in the final 2 minutes to put the game away for good.
Jordan made a series of mistakes late in the game that allowed the comeback, including ill-timed shots and poor control of the ball. But he made the plays when they mattered most. He finished the night with 29 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and 7 turnovers on 72% true shooting.
Let’s dive into some other fun points on the night:
- Lauri Markkanen was a staple throughout the night as he ended the contest with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists on 20 shots. The Pacers threw a lot at him defensively and Lauri was his consistent self.
- Ochai Agbaji’s 4 three-point field goal attempts tonight pushed him over the 70 mark. He’s upped his season long percentage to 40%, going 23-49 since re-entering the rotation to start 2023.
- The Indiana Pacers were without the services of starting center Myles Turner, to whom they gave a contract extension just a couple weeks ago for his stellar play and fit this season.
- Fellow rookie Bennedict Mathurin posted an impressive line of 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block on 71% true shooting, a reminder that Walker Kessler isn’t the only first year playing showing out this season.
Let’s look at the 4-factor advantage stats to get a feel for the game as a whole:
eFG% advantage: +2.8
TOV% advantage: -7.7
OREB% advantage: +14.9
FTArate advantage: +10.5
This validates what we saw toward the end of the game. A late flurry of shots from the Pacers made the game a lot closer than it was for the whole.
This win puts the Jazz at 29-30, still within spitting distance of top 8 lottery pick and a playoff birth.
Looking ahead, the Jazz will finish their road trip against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday before returning home to host the NBA world for All-Star Weekend.