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Emptying the Noggin — Jazz lose 3rd straight

By David Locke, Utah Jazz

Summary: The Jazz closed out the four-game road trip with a loss to the Indiana Pacers to go a disappointing 1-3 on the trip. The Jazz knocked on the door numerous time, but were unable to ever gain control of the game and fell, 107-100.

  • First off, Gordon Hayward was terrific. He came out of the chute and carried the team for most of the night. He scored a career-high 38 points He had 10 in the first quarter and then had 10 straight at the end of the first half to bring the Jazz back into the game. He continued all night and finished shooting 16 of 24.
  • Rudy Gobert was also terrific. He had 16 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high 8 blocks. He altered numerous shots, forced guys to change routes, and was mammoth. He sprinted the floor and made great catches.
  • Hayward will be thinking about a 3-pointer he missed to tie the game and Gobert will be thinking about going 2 for 6 from the line. This is why these guys are stars. The care factor from these two is magnificent.
  • There are two ways to look at this loss. First, it is a make or miss league. The Jazz were 6 of 26 from 3 for the night, highlighted by George Hill’s 0 for 7 and Joe Johnson’s 0 for 4. The Pacers, on the other hand, made shots. They were 10 of 20 from 3 — 50% is absurd.
  • A strange part of this game is that the Pacers allow the second-most amount of corner 3 attempts in the NBA and the Jazz only took one corner 3 the entire game. The Pacers are the fourth best team in the NBA defending the above the break 3 and the Jazz were 6 of 25 on above the break 3s.
  • The other way to look at this game is the Jazz didn’t make force plays, the 50-50 plays or the focus plays they needed to win on the road. Early in the game, the Jazz had at least four balls just knocked out of their hands. The 50-50 balls seemed to ricochet to the Pacers. Is that bad luck, were the Jazz a step slow or did the Jazz lacked gumption? Paul George dove on a ball out from under Gordon Hayward. Monta Ellis had an awesome steal. Joe Ingles doubled in the post and signaled to get someone to rotate over to cover the shooter and they never came.
  • At the end of the first half Gordon, scored on a filthy shot with 4.0 left and then no one put up resistance on Glen Robinson who banked in a 3 at the buzzer. This was super painful and the difference between being down two points with momentum rather than down five without.
  • The Jazz trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter.
  • They kept battling and even had a shot to tie in the fourth when Hayward missed a 3 in transition at 103-100. Paul George hit two big shots for Indiana to clinch the win.
  • The Jazz got within two on numerous occasions in the third quarter and were never able to take the lead or tie the game.
  • There were five times during the game the Jazz had a chance to tie or take the lead and they failed on all five.
  • Raul Neto played the backup point guard minutes in place of Dante Exum after Dante had a really tough start to the game. Neto made great steals twice but when he got to the rim for the layup, he got one blocked and missed the other.
  • The injuries to Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood have put a minute burden on Joe Johnson and Joe Ingles that is very intense.
  • In the eight games that Rodney Hood has played since returning from injury, he is shooting 39%.
  • The offense was actually fine tonight. The defense is what didn’t get enough stops. Myles Turner is that big that can pull Rudy out on the floor and then there is no rim protection behind him.
  • Al Jefferson gave Indiana a great boost with 10 points in 11 minutes.
  • Joe Johnson is shooting below 40% and below 25% from 3 since the All-Star break. As Ron Boone pointed out on Postcast, Johnson has gone from playing 20 minutes against second-tier guys to 30 minutes versus first-tier guys.
  • Rodney Hood returned and got three fouls in the first four minutes. He bounced back to make a few shots in the second half.
  • These last two are tough losses. The March schedule is brutal and these were the two that the Jazz had to find a way to grab to give them a little leeway in the quest for the four seed in the West. It now looks like the Jazz will have to go to LA and beat the Clippers if they want. With the Thunder and Grizzlies playing so much better, Utah better get it rolling before the seventh seed comes calling.