INDIANAPOLIS — Even though Utah was pounded by Indiana, there was an encouraging statement made Wednesday night that should provide Jazz fans with some relief.
Al Jefferson apparently doesn't believe the Jazz's doomsday-worthy game will trigger Mayan mayhem.
"It's not the end of the world," Big Al said.
If the Universe shoots fireballs or meteors at the Earth on Friday like the Jazz shot basketballs in this 104-84 blowout, Jefferson should be right.
"It was one one of those games where we just didn't have it," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We didn't make shots. You know, you can't overreact to it, (but) it was a bad game for us."
While it's understandable the Jazz don't want to overreact — they were coming off of Tuesday's nice come-from-behind 92-90 win at Brooklyn — it'd be hard to overstate how bad this particular game was for them.
Aside from humanity's survival, the only other good news from Bankers Life Fieldhouse — if it can be considered such — was the fact this wasn't the lowest-scoring game of the season for the Jazz. They once scored just 83 points and managed to beat the woeful Wizards by seven.
This one, however, was so bad for Utah, Indiana coach Frank Vogel called a timeout to allow his team to regroup after the Jazz scored two points in a row to trim the Pacers' monstrous lead down to 28.
Utah, struggling to score against 7-2 Roy Hibbert, the beefy 6-9 David West and 6-9 Tyler Hansbrough, among others, fell behind by double digits before the first quarter ended, and then it became almost unbearable to watch for Jazz fans.
The squad had its worst-scoring quarter in Corbin's tenure, managing a meager eight points in the second quarter. Utah hadn't had a quarter that bad since putting up just six points in the fourth quarter against the Lakers on Dec. 9, 2009.
The Jazz's 31-point first half was also its lowest offensive output in a half this season.
"They came out and just kicked our (behind)," Jefferson said. "I think for the most part we played hard. But for some reason, we just couldn't get the offense going. We missed a lot of wide-open shots, a lot of shots we normally make, and they made shots. They outplayed us. They wanted it more than we did, I guess. I don't know."
Jefferson, the Jazz's leading scorer, was so ineffective he left for good in the third quarter with as many fouls as he had points: four. The center had many more misses, shooting just 1-for-8 in 22 rough minutes.
Mo Williams was the only starter in double figures with 11 points. Paul Millsap, Marvin Williams, Randy Foye and Jefferson combined to score 24 points. Local hero Gordon Hayward, with multitudes of fans in the stands, might have had the toughest night, making five of the Jazz's 15 turnovers and scoring just eight points on 2-for-6 shooting.
"It was a tough night for us as a team," the Butler and Brownsburg product said. "We missed a lot of shots."
Fifty-four, to be exact.
It was so bad for Utah, somebody named Miles Plumlee had a better play — an alley-oop — than the Jazz did all night.
It was so bad, Gerald Green looked like an All-Star, and not just on his highlight-reel dunk. The reserve Pacer swingman scored a game-high 21 points in 23 minutes — 13 more points than all of Utah had in the entire second quarter, mind you.
It was so bad, three Indiana players scored at least 20 points — Paul George and George Hill joined Green with 20 points apiece — and the Pacers scored 100-plus for just the fourth time this season.
A few more numbers to accentuate the lowlights: 37.2-percent shooting, being outscored by a whopping 36-2 in paint through the first 28 minutes and 52-28 overall, and falling behind by a season-high 32 points.
"Tough, tough. We missed a lot of shots," Jazz power forward Derrick Favors said despite being one of the few players to hit his shots — 7 of 13 en route to 16 points with nine rebounds. "Even when we'd get the shot we wanted, we'd just miss it and at the other end of the floor, they were making their shots. Tonight's game is just a mental thing."
Even after the inept first half, after which Utah trailed 53-31, the Jazz quickly showed things weren't going to turn around anytime soon. That became obvious when they suffered a shot-clock violation on their first possession in the second half.
Utah did trim the final deficit down to 20 points, but that was merely putting spotty lipstick on this mucky pig of a defeat.
"We're disappointed in our performance, but you know what? It's one game. We didn't play our best basketball," Corbin said after his team fell to 14-13 and 5-11 on the road. "We have to make sure we're ready to go the rest of the trip. We've got a game in Miami (Saturday) and a game in Orlando (Sunday), so we've got to be ready for those two games."
To a man, the Jazz said they just have to quickly move on from this debacle.
"I can't speak for everybody else, but I don’t watch no ESPN. I don’t watch nothing," Jefferson said. "(We need to) just get the game out of our head and just try to bounce back, be ready to take care of business."
Assuming, of course, he's right about that whole world-not-ending prediction.
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