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Associated Press
Indiana Pacers' David West drives to the basket against Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

After a frustrating effort against the New York Knicks, the Utah Jazz were hoping for a bounce-back game Tuesday as they took on the Indiana Pacers in the second of a back-to-back. While the end result was not a victory, Utah turned what could have been a blowout loss into a game they had a chance to steal at the end. Ultimately, Indiana won the nail-biter 104-99, giving the Jazz their second straight road loss.

Tuesday’s matchup pitted two of the early season’s surprises. The Indiana Pacers maintained a fairly comfortable lead through most of the game, going up by as much as 21 midway through the third quarter. Not to be deterred, Tyrone Corbin’s squad battled back. After being down 71-50, the Jazz quickly went on a 27-13 run going into the fourth. The last stanza was close throughout, with Indiana doing just enough to eke out the win.

Balanced Basketball: Both teams featured balanced attacks. Seven Pacer players scored at least eight points, with speedy point guard Darren Collison exploding for 25 points, 17 in the first half. Big man Roy Hibbert was also impressive with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Meanwhile, nine of the ten Jazz players who saw playing time scored at least six points. Paul Millsap, after struggling offensively of late, had an effective 18-point outing (5 for 7 from the field, 8-8 from the free line) to lead Utah’s attack. Al Jefferson added 16 points, but was only 6-17 from the floor and was held scoreless the last 22 minutes.

Odds n’ends:

  • While adding seven valuable assists, Earl Watson was held scoreless for the second consecutive outing.
  • He did not receive the same welcome he did last year (nor did it rival the one Sacramento guard Jimmer Fredette received in Utah), but Gordon Hayward had a nice homecoming to the Hoosier State. With 11 points, three assists, and three boards, he was solid throughout.
  • The Pacers took great care of the basketball, only turning it over eight times. Utah had twice as many miscues, which lead to 15 points for Indiana.
  • After some definite struggles, the Jazz did well from both three-point territory (4-10) and from the charity stripe—21 of 23 free throws (91.3 percent).
  • Every Indiana starter had a positive +/- for the game, while every Jazz counterpart had a negative.

David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at mechakucha1@gmail.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.