GAME RECAP: Pacers 121, Jazz 94

Domantas Sabonis posts 19/9/9, while five additional Pacers score in double figures as Indiana handles Utah, 121 - 94.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 121, Jazz 94

Domantas Sabonis posts 19/9/9, while five additional Pacers score in double figures as Indiana handles Utah, 121 - 94.
Nov 19, 2018  |  00:00

Postgame Wrap Up: Pacers-Jazz - Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018 - Pacers.com's Zain Pyarali wraps up Indiana's impressive 121-94 win over the Utah Jazz at Bankers Life Fieldhouse despite Victor Oladipo missing the game with a sore right knee.
Nov 19, 2018  |  01:42

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Nov. 19, 2018

November 19, 2018 - Pacers players Darren Collison, Aaron Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, and Thaddeus Young give their thoughts on the team's dominant 121-94 victory over Utah on Monday.
Nov 19, 2018  |  01:43

Holiday Connects On A Three

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  05:33

Sabonis Hits McDermott Baseline

November 19, 2018 - Sabonis finds McDermott running towards the hoop.
Nov 19, 2018  |  05:19

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan speaks with the media following Indiana's 121-94 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Nov 19, 2018  |  07:32

DC Makes The Hustle Play

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  05:27

Bojan Hits Tough Stepback Three

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  05:28

Turner Finds Sabonis Inside

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  05:12

Tyreke Drives Inside

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  04:49

McDermott Forces Jump Ball

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  04:49

Thad Plays Strong Inside

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  05:14

Pacers Stick With It

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  05:30

DC Converts Off Turnover

November 19, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 19, 2018  |  05:29

Good Problems Brewing within Pacers

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The Pacers are going to be a problem. For a lot of people.

For opponents, certainly, given their burgeoning talent, balance, depth, chemistry, and camaraderie.

For coach Nate McMillan, who is going to have to decide what to do with all these guys who are proving they can produce when given the opportunity.

Even for President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard, who will have to make some difficult roster decisions next summer.

All these problems, however, are of the good variety, and Nos. 2 and 3 can be put off until later. For now, coming off three consecutive homecourt victories in which they held opponents under 100 points, the Pacers have the look of a team gelling at both ends of the court. A team with more talent than can be squeezed into one game. A team that could be headed somewhere meaningful if it can take its act on the road against winning teams.

Monday's 121-94 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse came over a Utah team that likely was feeling the effects of playing the last leg of a five-game road trip, but it wasn't as if the Jazz didn't try. And it wasn't as if the Pacers didn't put forth another impressive defensive effort and their finest offensive showing of the season, even without the services of leading scorer Victor Oladipo, who watched from the bench because of a sore right knee.

Oladipo wore a white T-shirt with black letters that read "Truth is more important now than ever." And the truth as it applies here is that the Pacers had a season-high 35 assists, one more than in their victory at San Antonio on Oct. 24, as well as 13 steals, which matched the season-high total they had established at Cleveland on Oct. 27. The combination of those efforts led to 33 points off Utah's 19 turnovers and 54 points in the paint.

McMillan has been preaching ball movement all season, and it moved like rarely before on Monday. Asked about it, he couldn't bother to wait for the question to be finished before jumping in with a declaration.

"This is what we're talking about," he said. "This is what we're talking about.

"Tonight they executed the game plan perfectly. We needed to get pressure on Utah. They do a good job of executing their halfcourt offense. You want to get pressure on them to disrupt the timing. We did that and then we got out and played at the tempo we wanted to play at.

"This is the type basketball we're capable of playing, we just have to get consistent at it."

This type of basketball produces a box score with more angles than can reasonably be included in one article, even within the infinity of cyberspace.

Domantas Sabonis had 19 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, and could have had a triple-double if he had played much more than 26 minutes. Darren Collison had nine points, six rebounds, and seven assists, and might have had a triple-double if he had played more than 27 minutes. Aaron Holiday followed up Saturday's stunning performance with 19 points and seven rebounds. Oh, and Bojan Bogdanovic scored a team-high 21 points on 14 field goal attempts, his third game of 20 or more in the past four.

"Everybody tonight played a key role in what we wanted to do," said Thaddeus Young, who was his usual steady self with 12 points and three steals.

Oladipo's injury created the necessity for more ball movement, but the Pacers have moved the ball well when he's played, such as in the victory at San Antonio. They also had never won a game when he didn't play, going 0-7 in such games last season, although Saturday's victory over Atlanta might as well have counted because he left after playing just the first 4 1/2 minutes.

What brought about Monday's buffet line of contributions?

"Guys are getting more comfortable playing their games and not overthinking," Collison said. "I think early in the season guys were overthinking and they weren't necessarily making the plays. Myself included. When we get out in transition and we just play, let it flow, let everything happen, just play off one another, we're probably one of the better teams."

Sabonis was a major part of the ball movement, making things happen by setting screens and finding open teammates when he had the ball. He's got some of the hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision that made his father, Arvydas, one of the best passing centers in the history of the game, and it showed on Monday.

McMillan pulled him with 2:48 left, preferring to let Kyle O'Quinn play rather than risk invoking bad karma by letting Sabonis go for a triple-double.

"It would have been cool to get it, but the important thing is that we all worked together for 48 minutes and we got the win," Sabonis said.

Pacers bench

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

Holiday wore a T-shirt, too, one he had made. Black with white letters, it read "The 4th One." It was a reference to his place in the birth order, behind his older brothers Jrue and Justin and his sister, Lauren, whose career at UCLA was cut short by injury.

"I love my family to death," he said. "I'm the fourth one born. I don't know why, I just do it."

Bloodlines must be part of the reason for his immediate success. He one-upped his performance on Saturday, when, playing his first minutes of the season when the outcome wasn't determined, he came off the bench to score 12 points in 15 minutes. This time he was in the game late in the first quarter and played 21 minutes. He hit 7-of-10 shots, including 2-of-4 3-pointers, contributed to the frenzied defensive effort and didn't commit a single turnover.

His poise and maturity show in the postgame locker room as obviously as on the court.

"I just try to play within the offense," he said. "I just try to get out there and help my team win the best I can."

He was asked if he had talked with Jrue and Justin, who play for New Orleans and Chicago, respectively, after Saturday's game. He had, but made it sound as if there was nothing to celebrate.

"I just asked how they did and they asked if we won and if I played," he said. "That was pretty much it. They already know how I play, so I don't think they were too excited."

Holiday is equally unruffled about the prospects for his playing time when Oladipo returns.

"I don't know what's next," he said. "I'm just out here playing when I get my name called."

McMillan, however, conceded he'll likely have to expand his desired nine-man playing rotation to 10 to include Holiday. That would mean fewer minutes for veterans Collison and Cory Joseph, neither of whom are getting a heavy load now, but something has to give when a rookie gets it so quickly.

"That kid has earned the right to be out on the floor," McMillan said. "He's waited. He's been patient. I've talked about how tough it is to play a 10-man rotation, but we may have to look at that. He's done some really good things for us. I love the energy, I love the intensity he brings to the floor He's scrapping, he's pressuring the ball, he's making shots for us."

Just what McMillan needs: another mouth to feed. He already had been trying to find scraps of playing time for last year's first-round draft pick, TJ Leaf, who had led the Pacers' scoring in the preseason and has shown promise at various times. And then there's Kyle O'Quinn, the veteran center signed as a free agent in the offseason who scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Brooklyn in his only extended playing time, 18 1/2 minutes, in the season's third game.

And then there's trio of young second-round draft picks in Fort Wayne playing impressively for the Mad Ants in the G League. Edmond Sumner has averaged nearly 24 points in their four games, and had 35 in one last week. Alize Johnson averages 22 points on 66 percent shooting and 12.3 rebounds. Ike Anigbogu averages 10.5 points and 10 rebounds.

So many players, so little time.

Someday, perhaps, some difficult decisions will have to be made. Someday, perhaps, some fires will have to be extinguished when ambitious players become frustrated with their playing time, whether that be veterans hanging on or young ones coming up. That day, however, seems a long way off.

Young's garment of choice, a maroon hooded sweatshirt, delivered a message of his own following the game: "We need leaders." He's probably the primary leader of this team, a co-captain along with Oladipo, but he admits captaining this team isn't as challenging as with most.

"We have a very, very unique team, a very, very unselfish team," Young said.

"Everybody wants to play 30 minutes a game, even me. But at the end of the day I'm not complaining, and I don't think other guys should complain. Other guys should understand what we're trying to do here and that we have something special as a team. And that we're trying to build and keep guys as fresh as possible for the remainder of the season. Hopefully when we get ourselves into the playoffs we'll have a lot of fresh bodies."


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Mark Montieth's book on the formation and groundbreaking seasons of the Pacers, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," is available in bookstores throughout Indiana and on Amazon.com.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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