GAME RECAP: Jazz 104, Pacers 84

Rudy Gobert's double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds help the Jazz top the Pacers 104-84.

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GAME RECAP: Jazz 104, Pacers 84

Rudy Gobert's double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds help the Jazz top the Pacers 104-84.
Mar 7, 2018  |  00:01

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018 - Pacers players Victor Oladipo, Trevor Booker, Lance Stephenson, and Myles Turner discussed Indiana's 104-84 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 7, 2018  |  03:50

Myles Putback Slam

March 07, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights of Myles Turner
Mar 7, 2018  |  01:38

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan spoke to the media following Indiana's 104-84 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 7, 2018  |  04:25

Bojan Breakaway Jam

March 07, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights of Bojan Bogdanovic
Mar 7, 2018  |  01:33

Domas Hammers it Home

March 07, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Mar 7, 2018  |  02:00

Postgame: Jazz Locker Room - March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018 - Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and players Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio discuss their 104-84 victory over the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 7, 2018  |  02:11

Bojan Hoop and Harm

March 07, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights of Bojan Bogdanovic
Mar 7, 2018  |  02:10

Thad Cleans His Own Miss

March 07, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights of Thaddeus Young
Mar 7, 2018  |  01:27

Vic with the Rejection

March 07, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights of Victor Oladipo
Mar 7, 2018  |  02:18

Vic Finds Myles for the Deuce

March 07, 2018: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Mar 7, 2018  |  02:20

Stephenson, Oladipo Drawing Plenty of Attention

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The good news is that Lance Stephenson says he won't get any more technical fouls this season.

The bad news is that the Pacers lost a home game by 20 points to a hot Utah team that's as big a surprise in the West as Indiana is in the East.

The uncertain news is that Victor Oladipo had another poor shooting game and landed hard on his right elbow.

Wednesday's 104-84 loss to the Jazz at Bankers Life Fieldhouse injected plenty of question marks into a season that's been dominated by exclamation points, starting with Oladipo. Normally the first player available for postgame interviews, he was by far the last one this time after undergoing treatment on his elbow.

He gave no indication that the injury might be serious, shrugging it off as "bumps and bruises."

"It is what it is," he said. "Got to figure out a way to perform. I missed some shots that I normally make, but it's OK, I'll get a chance to make 'em on Friday."

Oladipo fell hard underneath the basket after drawing contact from Jazz center Rudy Gobert with 5:40 left in the first quarter. He lay on his back for a while, appearing stunned, then rubbed his elbow before getting up. Gobert was called for a technical foul for protesting the foul call, Bojan Bogdanovic hit the bonus free throw, then Oladipo hit one-of-two foul shots.

He wound up hitting just 6-of-19 field goal attempts and didn't get to the foul line again, finishing with 13 points in 33 1/2 minutes. He had seven assists, six more than any other Pacers player had, as well as five steals.

He also had three turnovers, but if you're straining through binoculars for silver linings, you could point out he had seven fewer turnovers than in Monday's victory over Milwaukee. You could also say he had a better shooting performance than on Monday, but 6-of-19 is only microscopically better than 5-of-19. The bigger issue is that he's had five poor shooting performances in his previous eight games, starting with the win at Brooklyn before the All-Star break.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »

That raises the issue of fatigue, which Oladipo has hinted at on occasion. But he had two days off following the break and was given a day off from practice on the Saturday following the break. Players have been participating in All-Star Games for a long time now, and until 2015 had to be at their team's practice the day after the game and were likely playing in a regular season game on the following day.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan blames the adjustment process a player encounters after becoming an All-Star rather than fatigue. He says Oladipo has to read defenses better and give up the ball more quickly when double-teamed. And then get stronger in the offseason.

"We're seeing more physical play, from all teams," McMillan said. "Teams are going to do things to take him out. He has to make those reads, learn to play through that contact. It can't become a distraction where you're feeling you're not getting calls. It's just that time of the season. He hasn't been in this role this time of the season in his career, so he has to learn to play through that."

Oladipo laughed when the issue of heightened defensive pressure was brought up to him following Wednesday's game.

"I think you all noticed it, too," he said. "Just little things. If I was getting open threes at the beginning of the year, I'm not getting any open threes anymore. People hounding me, coming at me, running at me, flying at me, double teams.

"I draw a lot of attention. It's what I wanted, you know what I mean? Just have to continue to keep growing. It's all new to me. I'll figure out a way to utilize my teammates and get them open looks and open up the floor and make it a lot easier for me."

Stephenson tends to draw a lot of attention, too. The NBA office had issued a Flagrant 1 foul earlier on Wednesday after reviewing video of Monday's game and determining he had intentionally tripped Milwaukee's John Henson. Stephenson said Wednesday he has no regrets about the incident, because he didn't do it intentionally.

McMillan addressed the issue with Stephenson following Monday's game, and with reporters before Wednesday's game.

"They're watching," McMillan said, referring to the league office. "They're looking at that. They have video that teams are going to send in to review later. You're going to get fined and punished for that. It's not something you can get away with, with all the video. It was a bad play. You just can't have that."

Asked if he believes his talks with Stephenson have any impact, McMillan said, "I have them, and we'll see if they're getting through to him."

Stephenson didn't draw any flagrant fouls against the Jazz, but he did get called for a technical foul after protesting a charging foul called when he bullied his way to the basket in the fourth quarter. It was an appropriate ending to his 13 1/2-minute appearance, in which he missed all five field goal shots and committed three turnovers.

Afterward, he made a vow.

"No more techs for me," he said. "I get emotional, but I can't afford no more techs.

"Just have to play more smart, watch what I'm saying to the refs, talk to them a little more respectfully."

Stephenson realizes officials are watching him — and listening to him — more closely now, and that he'll have to adjust. The Pacers are at their best when he's in the game, both physically and mentally, and seemed to have no shot at another dramatic comeback on Wednesday without him playing well. Especially against a team such as Utah, which has won nine consecutive games on the road and 16 of its past 18 overall.

"It's an emotional game," Stephenson said. "We're going to get frustrated. Nothing is perfect. Coach gets techs, we all get techs. We talk about it, we try to channel it, but some games you get upset. Sometimes it's hard to channel it.

"It's hard to calm me down in the heat of battle. We're all disappointed about techs, we know it could cost us, but for the most part we have to cool it down. Everybody."

McMillan appreciates Stephenson's struggle to calm down, which is why he expressed no concern about Stephenson's technical foul following Wednesday's game.

"He brings energy to the game," McMillan said. "I'll coach whatever he brings, but we want him to bring energy to the game."

Same goes for Oladipo.


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, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," covers the formation and early seasons of the franchise. It is available at retail outlets throughout Indiana and online at sources such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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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