The Utah Jazz (43-28) just didn’t have it tonight as they dropped their third game in a row on this trip - this night to the Indiana Pacers (36-34) by the final score of 107-100. The loss, one where Indiana was ahead for the vast majority of the game, spoils a new career high 38 points for Indiana native Gordon Hayward and a career high 8 blocks for Rudy Gobert.
Hats off to the Pacers who were hot all game long from three (50.0%) while keeping the Jazz out of tune from outside (23.1%). There were some home calls that went against the road team, but I don’t think that’s the reason for this loss.
In fact, the Jazz did really well in some of the points of emphasis here, keeping Paul George quite for an entire half of basketball and allowing him to score 19 points off of 20 shots (many free throws in Jazz foul mode with less than a minute to play). Utah was also able to attack the offensive boards, gaining 13 extra chances to score.
But as far as the game plan went some things also did not go as planned at all. Making guys like C.J. Miles and Myles Turner the scorers in this game (instead of guys like George or Jeff Teague) worked poorly as those players shot 4/6 and 6/11 respectively for 15 and 16 points. That type of efficiency (both also went 4/4 from the free throw line) helped keep the Jazz just out of reach for most of this game.
And Utah did make it a 2 point game a few times, but couldn’t get over the hump. Some of that is effort, some of that is execution (Jazz turned it over like crazy to start this game), and some of that is just luck. Glenn Robinson III hit a three at the buzzer to half a six point Jazz streak right before halftime. He also managed a ridiculous block on Alec Burks as well - a personal 5 point swing of “how did he do that” plays. Raul Neto went on two break away and finish with nothing to show for it. Rodney Hood picked up three early fouls, then a fourth, and he was a liability on defense the rest of the game. Heck, Monta Ellis shot well tonight!
So it wasn’t perfect. But Hayward nearly was, and Gobert almost got his first triple double of his career. Instead, they got a loss.
Utah gets to lick their wounds for a night, then host the New York Knicks on Wednesday as the team celebrates the 1997 Finals team.