Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9:00 PM ET at EnergySolutions Arena
Game Rewind: Pacers 95, Jazz 86
Scott Agness | December 4, 2013
Squeezed between two sets of back-to-backs against the four best teams out West, all a part of a challenging five-game road trip, the Pacers were in Utah Wednesday night. The Jazz are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, but had recent momentum from winning three of their previous four games.
The Pacers hadn’t fared well in Utah in the last decade, losing six in row. Trailing by one at the break, the Pacers (17-2) locked in defensively in the second half en route to a 95-86 win over the Jazz (4-16) at EnergySolutions Arena. Indiana’s win ended a six-game losing streak in Utah, which went all the way back to Nov. 2005.
Roy Hibbert scored the first bucket of the game, but the Pacers then missed their next eight shots. During the Pacers’ early struggles, the Jazz pulled in front by ten points. Jazz rookie point guard Trey Burke, who missed the first 12 games of the season due to a broken right index finger, had eight points and three assists early. After 12 minutes of action, Utah’s lead was six.
The Jazz took their largest lead of the game, 42-31, with under five minutes to play in the half. But out of a Frank Vogel timeout, the Pacers began to get stops and were more aggressive. After shooting 33 percent in first, they connected on 55 percent in the second – despite missing all seven 3-point attempts – and used a 16-6 surge to trim their deficit to one, 48-47, at the break. Lance Stephenson scored 10 of his 15 points in the second and Luis Scola chipped in eight.
There were four ties and 10 lead changes in this one, with the majority of them taking place in a very back-and-forth third period. The Pacers used a 7-1 late in the quarter for a five-point lead, but they’d miss their final four shots, all very good looks, and thus the Jazz were able to trim it to one.
As he typically does, Paul George had his best quarter in the final period. Gaining fuel from his defensive effort, George had a couple breakaway slams and then he nailed his only 3-pointer on the night. The Jazz got to within seven, but again, Indiana’s league-leading defense stepped up. Hibbert had a huge block, and then George Hill buried a deep jumper just before the shot clock expired. It was a balanced effort for the Pacers, having six players finish in double figures and committing a season-low eight turnovers in their nine-point victory.
Coming off a loss in Portland, the Pacers prevented consecutive losses from happening while also snapping a losing streak in Utah. They’re now 2-1 and just over the hump on their five-game Western trip. They’ll look to end another streak on Saturday in San Antonio, where they’ve dropped 11 in a row.
Inside the Numbers
Despite going 7-of-20 from the field, including 1-of-8 from beyond the arc, Paul George led the Pacers with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Lance Stephenson had 15, all but two scored in the first half, and Roy Hibbert tallied 13 points and nine boards before fouling out for the first time this season.
David West finished with 10 points, a season-high eight assists and five rebounds. Luis Scola was 6-of-12 for 14 points and C.J. Watson hit two 3s in the fourth for six of his eight points.
Derrick Favors recorded his eighth double-double of the season, with 22 points, a new season high, and 13 rebounds. Enes Kanter, who started for the injured Marvin Williams, ended the night with 20 and 10. Trey Burke had 13 points and career-high nine assists and Brownsburg’s Gordon Hayward tallied 12 points (3-for-14 shooting), six assists and four rebounds.
The Pacers shot 47.6 percent from the floor despite making a season-low 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from 3-point land. It didn’t hurt them too bad because the Jazz were just 4-for-11.
Indiana scored 54 points in the paint, their most in a game this season. That’s not surprising because Utah gives up the most in the league, an average of 46.9 points per game entering this contest.
“Really good win for our guys. Kind of a grind-it-out type of game. (Our) perimeter shot wasn’t falling. We were ‘O’-for our first 12 three-point attempts, but we continued to grind out our defensive rebounding. … We were able to keep them off the three-point line, only four three-point makes, and in the second half only two second chance shots. We were able to keep them off the glass. Not perfect, but happy to get out of here with a ‘W.’” - Frank Vogel
“This is a team win. All of our guys collectively came together and we got the job done as a unit.” – Paul George
“It did [affect me]. It was so hard to find my wind and my chest was burning. I just didn’t want to make no excuses tonight and I tried to play through it.” – Paul George on the altitude
“We started out slow. I’m going to be honest, the altitude because of my asthma kind of kicked me in the rear to begin with. I got my second wind and I was trying to be a defensive presence.” – Roy Hibbert on the altitude
“I’m trying to be very aggressive, and trying to be that energy guy because when I don’t bring energy, then the team don’t bring energy.” – Lance Stephenson
“It’s a great opportunity for our team to grow and compete against some of the better teams in the NBA.” – David West on their upcoming weekend
Stat of the Game
The Pacers had only eight turnovers, a season low and their first time this season with single-digit giveaways. They also scored 20 points off 14 Utah turnovers.
- Lance Stephenson was T’d up for the fourth time this season late in the game.
- Marvin Williams (right heel) and Jeremy Evans (flu) were inactive for the Jazz.
- Playing in just his third game this season, ex-Pacers player Brandon Rush played 10 minutes and scored his first field goal.
- The NBA Paul George named Eastern Conference Player of the Month on Tuesday for his play in the first month and leading the Pacers to a 15-1 start. Frank Vogel earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors on Monday.
Saturday, Dec. 7 at San Antonio – 8:30 p.m. EST