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The Roundup—Mitchell, Gobert, Conley shine as Jazz rout Pacers
The Utah Jazz continued to roll Monday night, celebrating Martin Luther King Day with a 118-88 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz never trailed, leading for all but two possessions in the first two minutes of the game. Utah shot 54.0 percent from the field—and a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line—while holding the Pacers to only 41.9 percent shooting.
"Indiana's really quick with the ball and they have size, but when you're consistent defensively, you give yourself a chance for good things to happen," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "Defensively, as a group, we were good. And we did a good job on the boards, which was really important."
Utah's duo of Donovan Mitchell (25 points, three assists, two steals) and Rudy Gobert (20 points, 14 rebounds) led the way once again, while Bojan Bogdanović scored 16 points against his former team.
Georges Niang (15 points, 3-for-6 from three) and Mike Conley (14 points) provided a spark off the bench.
The Jazz (30-13) have now won 17 of their last 19 games and are tied (with the Nuggets and Clippers) for second place in the Western Conference standings.
"That's a very good team—obviously one of the best teams in the East—and we didn't take them lightly at all," Conley said. "Guys really came out focused on the defensive end, and we got to the offensive side and started sharing the ball. It became Jazz basketball."
Myles Turner and Aaron Holiday led the Pacers with 12 points each, while Jeremy Lamb added 11 points and Domantas Sabonis finished with 10 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
Indiana (28-16) had won five straight games.
Monday's Best: Mike Conley
After missing 20 of Utah's 21 games from December 4 through January 16, Conley (hamstring) eased himself back into action on Saturday before taking on a more robust workload in tonight's blowout of the Pacers. Conley finished with 14 points (on 6-for-8 shooting) along with one rebound and two assists in 18 minutes off the bench. The Jazz are now 7-1 this season when Conley makes at least 45.0 percent of his shots.
"I thought Mike started to find a rhythm tonight, which was good to see," Snyder said. "Some of our big, run-stopping plays were shots that he hit."
The Jazz were rolling early, making eight of their first 11 shots—including two threes—and forcing five Indiana turnovers en route to an 18-10 lead. Mitchell scored Utah's first four points of the game, while Joe Ingles and Royce O'Neale each hit a 3-pointer and Gobert threw down two dunks in the lane.
Utah extended that lead to 17 midway through the second quarter thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers—one each by Mitchell, Conley and Niang—plus a three-point play by Bogdanović, a jumper by Conley, and a dunk in traffic by Gobert.
The Jazz led by 12 at halftime and cruised the rest of the way, putting away an Indiana team that was coming off a dramatic victory in Denver on Sunday evening.
This was a dominant performance against a team that has had Utah's number the past three seasons. The Jazz had lost five of their last six games against the Pacers, with their last win on March 17, 2018. The average margin of defeat in those five losses was 20.2 points.
Indiana boasts one of the league's most dynamic big-man duos (Sabonis/Turner), yet the Jazz dominated the interior, outrebounding the Pacers 53-30 and outscoring them 60-46 in the paint and 22-4 in second-chance points. Indiana shot only 46.9 percent (23-for-49) in the paint, compared to Utah's 62.5 percent (30-for-48).
Utah outscored Indiana in each individual quarter—by six in the first quarter, six in the second quarter, five in the third quarter, and 13 in the fourth quarter. This was the second-largest margin of victory this season for the Jazz, behind only a 32-point win over the Kings back on October 26.
The Jazz have now won eight straight games at home, where they're 17-3 so far this season. ... All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who's been out since injuring his quad/knee almost exaclty one year ago (January 23, 2019), is tentatively planning to make his season debut when the Pacers play the Bulls on January 29. ... Mitchell picked up a technical foul in the third quarter. ... Utah turned the ball over 21 times (compared to only 14 by Indiana) yet outscored the Pacers 25-16 in points off turnovers. ... The Jazz shot 12-for-31 (38.7 percent) from 3-point range. ... Indiana's TJ McConnell dished out a game-high 10 assists in 23 minutes off the bench. Ingles led the Jazz with seven assists.
The Jazz will hit the road to face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 8:00pm MT, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Utah's next home game is on Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm MT against the Dallas Mavericks.