07 February 2012
Gordon Hayward returned home Tuesday night to a welcoming ovation. It was a bittersweet return, however, as the Jazz drop their fourth straight game on the road.
But the game wasn’t without it’s excitement as the Jazz came back from 21 down in the third quarter to push the young, disciplined Pacers to the brink before falling short in the final minutes.
The Jazz fought down the stretch. When the Pacers opened up a 21 point lead early in the third quarter it seemed as though the white flag was going up again and the Jazz were going to get run out of the building for a second straight night.
Yet behind the combined efforts of Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward (combined 15 points in the quarter) they whittled their way back to within 7 to end the quarter. For a young team, being down on the road 21 points to a VERY good Pacer team in the 3rd quarter, to battle back shows grit.
Paul Millsap found his offensive game, scoring a team high 18 points on 5-7 shooting, 8 of that coming in the 3rd quarter. He led all Jazz players with 10 rebounds, 9 of them on the defensive end. He also chipped in four assists.
Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap puts up a shot against Indiana Pacers' Roy Hibbert, behind, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Indianapolis. Indiana won 104-99. (Associated Press)
The bench had a strong showing following their horrific night in New York, outscoring a very good Pacers bench 36-24.. CJ and Favors led the bench with 12 and 10 respectively. Favors also finished with five rebounds and a blocked shot. Early Watson didn’t score the ball but finished with a team high seven assists and two blocked shots.
Kanter continues to play tough defensively as he finishes the night with a block and 6 rebounds. Offensively he continues to improve in the post. He is learning to finish stronger at the rim and has developed a decent post game as well. He finished the night with 6 points on 3-6 from the floor.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. For the second night in a row the Jazz turnover the ball uncharacteristically finishing the night with 17.
The offense continues to struggle at times as well, especially in the first half. Many times it was one and done, resulting in a fast break the other direction. Often times the team gets into a half court set and everyone watches as the ball is fed into the post and then disappears. Guys try to do to much when they get the ball, rather than let the game come to them.The Jazz offense that has been so fluid to begin the year with cuts, passes and easy buckets has found tough, stagnant moments all too often lately.
The fourth quarter featured a Jazz defense that was near stifling early on as they held the Pacers scoreless for nearly 6 minutes as they took a one point lead at 85-84. They defended the pick and roll well and kept the Pacers out of the paint. They also rebounded the ball extremely well allowing only 2 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter.
But in the end they came up short unable to get stops down the stretch and unable to match the Pacers offensively as well.