By Matt Payne, utahjazz.com
After a sluggish first half, the Jazz exploded after the break to finish off their season-opening road trip with a 97-76 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Utah will head back home with a 2-1 record.
Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 18 points, and Rodney Hood chipped in 17 points and four steals. Gordon Hayward had 11 points, while the bench trio of Trey Burke (15 points), Alec Burks (10 points) and Joe Ingles (10 points) each scored in double figures.
Rudy Gobert grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked two shots.
George Hill (17 points) and Paul George (16 points) were Indiana’s top scorers in the loss.
Favors scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, and his physical presence in the post was one of the main catalysts for Utah’s second-half surge. Favors added seven rebounds, three steals and a block, and he continued to showcase his mid-range game with several outside jumpers.
This game was all about the third quarter. Trailing 49-42 at halftime, the Jazz began the second half on a 12-0 run to take a 54-49 lead. The Pacers didn’t score for the first 5:32 of the third quarter (they went 0-for-8 from the field during that stretch). The Jazz went on another 8-0 run later in the quarter and eventually led 70-61 at the end of three.
With Gobert and his 17 boards leading the way, the Jazz outrebounded the Pacers 47-34. More than anything, the rebounding edge was evidence of Utah’s hustle and determination—the Jazz simply wanted this game more, and it showed.
Coach’s Quote of the Night
“I think our guys take pride in our defense right now. ... Defense travels. We’ve wanted to be a good road team, and that begins with playing good defense. I think that’s what happened the last two nights. We didn’t get off to a good start tonight, but our defense got stronger as the game went on and I think our guys really came together.”
—Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Former Jazz player C.J. Miles’ streak of six straight games with 4+ 3-pointers (one short of the all-time record) came to an end. He went 0-for-6 from 3-point range. ... The Jazz held the Pacers to only 27 points in the second half. ... This game was a homecoming of sorts for two Jazz players—Hayward and rookie Trey Lyles each grew up in the Indianapolis area. ... The Jazz grabbed 13 steals and forced 24 total Indiana turnovers (which led to 30 Utah points).
The Jazz will return to Salt Lake City for their home opener against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MT.