There is simply no creative, positive way to package this one. After a quick start, it was all downhill for the Utah Jazz. In perhaps their worst performance of the season, Utah was throttled by the Indiana Pacers, 104-84.
After the high of an exciting win over the Brooklyn Nets one night earlier, the Jazz were brought down quickly Wednesday evening. Utah has now dropped three of four games.
One Team Thrived: A lot will be said about Utah’s poor effort, but Indiana deserves a great deal of credit. The Pacers played a fundamentally excellent game. The Pacers thrived on both ends of the court and simply zapped the Jazz’s confidence early on. Moreover, they did not stop pouring it on.
The stats help tell the tale:
• Indiana connected on 41 of 80 from the floor, a 51.3 percent clip. And that was with its second- and third-stringers playing most of the second half.
• The Pacers were even better from long distance, drilling 9-of-16 3-pointers for an impressive 56.3-percent mark. Indiana swingman Gerald Green did most of the damage, going 4 of 6 from downtown.
• Eight blocked shots and seven steals belie the Pacers’ defensive efforts. They were physical and active, deflecting and knocking the ball away frequently. Their perimeter defenders were ball hawking while their interior bigs were not backing down.
• Five Pacers scored in double figures with none of them playing more than 33 minutes. This quintet — David West, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Paul George and Gerald Green — collectively shot 34-of-60 field goals en route to accounting for 86 of Indiana’s 104 points.
One Team Struggled:
Utah appeared flustered and befuddled by Indiana’s outing. On the offensive end, many of the Jazz’s shots were contested and when they got open looks, they were errant. Again, the numbers paint the picture:
• Due to the aforementioned Indiana defensive pressure, Utah could never get its offense going. It shot six more shots than the Pacers, yet made nine less shots. The Jazz managed just 37 percent from the field.
• Utah was forced to operate mostly from the perimeter, which was its downfall. THe Jazz missed 13 of their 15 trey attempts.
• Furthermore they were dominated both on points in the paint (52-28) and via fast breaks (16-7).
• Not only did every Jazz starter sport a negative plus-minus, every one of them was minus-23 or worse.
• Eight Utah players had as many or more field-goal attempts than points put on the board.
• In front of his hometown crowd, Utah guard Gordon Hayward had a season-high five turnovers in a season-low 13 minutes.
• After playing 11 minutes total over a span of seven games (five of which were DNP-CDs), Jazz guard Alec Burks tallied 12 points in 14 minutes.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.