The Indiana Pacers entered Wednesday night's matchup with the Utah Jazz on a hot streak, having won three straight games and seven of their last nine contests.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, the Jazz were even hotter.
Utah (35-30) picked up its 16th win in 18 games on Wednesday, coming into Bankers Life Fieldhouse and handing Indiana (37-28) a 104-84 defeat.
Five players scored in double figures for the Jazz, who led by double digits for most of the second half and frustrated the Pacers all night with their stifling defense.
"It's a good defensive team and we didn't get anything," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the loss. "I don't think we got clear looks.
"We were playing against defense all night long. They establish their tempo and the game is at their tempo. Basically, we could not get any stops defensively to try to get out and get some easy opportunities."
The Pacers jumped in front early, taking an 8-2 lead and forcing a quick timeout from Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. But Utah dominated the latter half of the opening frame, moving in front with a 10-0 run and outscoring Indiana 21-6 over the final 5:30 to take a 32-20 lead into the second quarter.
One positive in that stretch came with 2:49 remaining in the quarter, when Trevor Booker checked in for the first time as a member of the Pacers. The eight-year veteran — signed by Indiana on Saturday — played five minutes in the first half, converting his only shot attempt and also corralling two offensive rebounds.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »The Jazz extended their lead to as many as 16 points in the second quarter before the Blue & Gold rallied. Indiana reeled off a 10-2 run of its own to briefly get back within single digits and headed into the break trailing, 54-44.
Utah opened the second half with a 12-5 run to extend its lead to 17 points. The Pacers climbed back into the contest with an 11-2 spurt that made it a seven-point game, but five straight points from rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell gave the visitors some more cushion and the Jazz took a 79-69 lead into the fourth quarter.
The start of the fourth quarter mirrored the beginning of the third. The visitors scored the first nine points of the final frame to open up their largest lead of the night. They later extended the margin to as many as 23 points.
McMillan subbed his starters back in early to attempt to salvage the game, but the hosts were unable to put together a serious comeback threat down the stretch.
Pacers center Myles Turner was a bright spot in the loss, scoring a team-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
All-Star guard Victor Oladipo once again struggled from the field. After managing just 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting and committing 10 turnovers in Monday's win over Milwaukee, Oladipo scored just 13 points on 6-of-19 shooting with three giveaways on Wednesday. He did, however, manage to record seven assists and five steals.
Oladipo landed hard on his right elbow in the first quarter after a hard foul from Jazz center Rudy Gobert, but stayed in the game and downplayed it afterwards as just another one of the many "bumps and bruises" he has picked up over the course of the season.
"I thought I got some good looks that I missed," Oladipo said. "...I thought we all got some good looks that we missed. It's just one of those nights, you know? Credit them. They played well and they moved the ball offensively and made it tough for us."
Gobert wreaked havoc on the interior all night for Utah, finishing with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting and 14 rebounds.
"He's very long and you're not going to beat him up top," Turner said about his Utah counterpart. "You have to hit him down low. Anytime they throw the ball anywhere near the rim, he's right there, so it's tough to keep him out."
Mitchell added 20 points for the Jazz, while Ricky Rubio (18 points, six rebounds, and seven assists), Jae Crowder (16 points), and Joe Ingles (11 points and 10 assists) all also finished in double figures.
The Pacers will return to action on Friday night, when they host the Atlanta Hawks at 7:00 PM ET to close out a three-game homestand. Indiana then embarks on a difficult two-game road trip with visits to Boston and Philadelphia.
Inside the Numbers
Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 13 points for Indiana and has now scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games, the longest streak of his career.
Cory Joseph added 12 points and six assists in the loss.
The Pacers shot just 38.6 percent from the field on the night and are now 0-5 on the year when recording a field goal percentage under .400.
Indiana did amass 14 offensive rebounds on the night and outscored Utah 24-4 in second-chance points.
Booker played 13:39 in his Pacers debut, finishing with two points on 1-of-2 shooting, two rebounds, and one turnover.
Gobert recorded his fourth consecutive double-double and his 21st of the season for the Jazz.
Ingles, meanwhile, recorded a double-double for the first time in his four years in the NBA, setting a new career high with 10 assists.
You Can Quote Me on That
"They showed why they are definitely one of the hottest teams in the league when the team is healthy. When they're playing as well as they're playing, they're tough to beat." -McMillan
"It was fun being out there. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win. We went up against a super-hot Utah team. Give them credit, they did a good job tonight of picking us apart. They had it going, got it in the paint, dished it out, made some threes and our shot wasn't falling tonight." -Booker on his first game action with the Pacers
"I picked and chose my spots correctly tonight. For us to be the team that we want to be, I've got to shoot more than five times in a game. I just kind of analyzed some film and saw where I needed to be and picked and chose my spots very well tonight." -Turner on his strong offensive night
"We followed the game plan and tried to get back on defense because they are a good team in transition. We wanted to play five-on-five as much as possible." -Rubio
"We did a great job. We protected the paint. When they stopped wanting to come into the paint, it made them a jump shooting team and it's on our guards to try and distract and contest the shots and on us (front line) to rebound and we did a good job tonight." -Gobert
Stat of the Night
The Jazz had 30 assists on 41 field goals on Wednesday. The Pacers, conversely, had just 12 assists on the night — only one more than their season low, set three days earlier in a win in Washington.
The all-time series between the Pacers and Jazz is now tied, with each team having won 43 contests against the other. The Pacers are 28-15 in games played in Indianapolis.
Wednesday's loss was just the third home loss for the Pacers since the calendar turned to 2018. The Blue & Gold is 11-3 at The Fieldhouse since Jan. 1.
The Jazz have now won nine straight road games, their longest streak since 1998.
The Pacers close out a three-game homestand when they welcome the Atlanta Hawks to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday, March 9 at 7:00 PM ET. Tickets are available starting at just $12.