Including a dreadful Nov. 9 loss at Denver, the Jazz were at their worst this season Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
How odd it is that the Jazz, fresh off a double-digit rally in the second half against Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, were so flat against Indiana on Tuesday — especially in the first half and quite especially during an eight-point second quarter? The team committed 18 turnovers, shot 2 of 15 from beyond the arc and 37 percent overall.
GUARDS: The Jazz have seen better from Mo Williams this year. Besides committing more turnovers (four) than assists (three) Wednesday night, he was primarily responsible for allowing George Hill, a 15 points-per-game scorer, to net 20 — along with five assists and five rebounds. This contest marked Williams' first with an assist-to-turnover ratio leaning towards the latter.
Shooting guard Randy Foye (7 points on 3-of-10 shooting) was ineffective, though at least his counterpart Lance Stephenson (4 assists) went scoreless in three more minutes than the first-year Jazzman. Playing 25 minutes Wednesday, Stephenson did at least average seven points in 26 minutes per game entering the contest. GRADE: D+.
FORWARDS: One starter struggled offensively, while the other was particularly bad on the other end of the floor. Paul Millsap shot just 2 of 7 from the field, though he did grab nine rebounds and dish three assists. The shooting struggles marked the end of a successful stretch for Millsap, whose seven straight games of 50 percent or better had been severed only by a decent 7-of-16 showing in a Dec. 7 triple-overtime win over Toronto, when he scored the majority of his 20 points after regulation.
While Marvin Williams shot 3 of 5, he, like the other Williams, hardly slowed down his opponent. Indiana's Paul George scored 20 points on torrid 9-of-13 shooting (not to mention 11 rebounds and four blocks), including 2 of 4 from distance.
It should be noted that Derrick Favors (28 minutes) played five and seven minutes more than Millsap and Williams, respectively. However, much of it came after the Jazz were behind by two dozen points or more. But he did collect 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the time provided. GRADE: C-.
CENTERS: Al Jefferson's 1-of-8 shooting night marked probably his worst game of the season. He has only shot worse once in 26 games since late October, a 1-of-9 clangfest Nov. 9 at Denver. He was certainly lapped by a Pacer: Roy Hibbert was effective in 30 minutes (12 points on 5-of-10 shooting), if not soft on the glass (four rebounds, compared to Big Al's six).
Like Favors, Enes Kanter saw more time under the bright lights in the midst of the blowout. And why not? Kanter was better than Jefferson this particular evening: nine points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes (the starter played 22). His four fouls may have kept him from seeing even a few more minutes. The Turks' B+ play helps offset Jefferson's D- a bit. But Big Al needs to take responsibility. GRADE: C-.
BENCH: Led by Favors, Kanter and an impressive Alec Burks (12 points on 5-of-10 shooting in less than 14 minutes), the Utah reserves outscored the Indiana bench 49-39. It marked the Jazz's highlight of the game — and doesn't necessarily make things easier for coach Tyrone Corbin. Too bad for Utah that it allowed forward Gerald Green, who is averaging seven points per game this season, to get away from it (21 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 23 minutes). GRADE: C.
OVERALL: Perhaps their legs were weary from playing the previous evening, but Indiana is mediocre, too — and the Pacers had lost in Milwaukee the previous night. Utah's inconsistency showed a lack of effort and lack of will to be consistent professionals.
Favors, Kanter and Burks made their case for playing time in a contest where Corbin provided that showcase. For Favors, it was his latest display of aptitude. GRADE: D+.
Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. A Deseret News editorial intern, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wilklogan.
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