(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – The Indiana Pacers (5-3 | 4-2) scrap their way to a 134-118 victory over the Utah Jazz (2-7 | 0-5) for their second winning streak of the season.
The opening quarter would be a quarter of runs. At first, this game started like it was going to be a blowout win for the Pacers after scoring the first seven points in 100 seconds. Utah would call a timeout and immediately respond with a 12-0 run. That run would be countered with a quick 5-0 run from Indiana to tie it at twelve. The Jazz’s hot shooting after the timeout would continue as they’d extend their lead to 29-19, the largest deficit the Pacers would face the entire game. Jalen Smith and Aaron Nesmith came up big with a couple baskets followed by two triples from Buddy Hield. Utah and Indiana would be tied at 29 because of Bennedict Mathurin drilling a three with three seconds left. Jordan Clarkson was the primary source of offense with 11 points for the Jazz. Myles Turner (9 points) and Bennedict Mathurin (8 points) led Indiana in scoring. John Collins and Lauri Markkanen chipped in with seven for Utah.
Indiana’s second quarter would be a quarter that fans are typically seeing from an offensive efficiency standpoint. They came one field goal shy of another 40-point quarter. After a nine-point first quarter, Turner followed it up with a dominating 11-point second quarter. He made his three field goals and 5/7 free throws. Nesmith continued to provide valuable minutes with seven in the quarter. At the halfway point in the period, Indiana’s deficit was 49-48. Within three minutes, they would go ahead 58-51 after Turner scored five points with a three mixed in from Hield. At halftime, Indiana led Utah 67-60 because Andrew Nembhard nailed a three as time expired. Turner would lead all scorers at halftime with 20-points. Clarkson led the Jazz in scoring with 15 points and Markkanen had 11 points.
After a very quiet first half for Tyrese Haliburton, he was uber aggressive in the third quarter. In the first half he missed both of his shot attempts, but he did dish out seven assists in over fourteen minutes. The big downside for Indiana in the third quarter is that Clarkson was sizzling. He scored 13 of Utah’s 38 points in the period. Most of Utah’s damage came behind the arc (5/9) and the free throw line (7/8). Indiana struggled from distance in the quarter by going 1/10. The lack of resistance from the Jazz within the arc is what let Indiana stay ahead 101-98 after thirty-six minutes. 13/15 is what the Pacers went from 2-point range in the period.
Unlike the game against the Chicago Bulls last week, the Pacers were able to pull away from the Jazz after they lingered around through three quarters. Indiana’s defensive intensity was at a season high. They forced six turnovers in the quarter and held Utah to 30% from the field. In total, Utah scored 20 points in the final twelve minutes (second lowest quarter for an opponent this season). Markkanen was their leading scorer in the period with seven points. For Indiana, Nesmith got hot in the quarter. He made four of his five field goal attempts including both of this three’s, totaling to ten points. The lead for Indiana was trimmed to 108-104 a few minutes into the fourth before they went on a 10-2 to go ahead by a game high 14 points at the time. Their lead would get as high as 16 in the final 96 seconds. Indiana would win their second consecutive game, 134-118.
TOP PERFORMERS: Aaron Nesmith (24p), Bennedict Mathurin (22p, 9r, 4a, 2s), Myles Turner (22p, 6r, 3b), Tyrese Haliburton (16p, 13a, 6r). Jordan Clarkson (33p, 5a) and Lauri Markkanen (24p, 9r). For tonight’s full box score, click here.
NOTES: Aaron Nesmith registered his 2nd game with 20+ points (last season it was the 36th game when he did that). Bennedict Mathurin’s 9 rebounds tied a career high. Obi Toppin’s three steals were a career high. Tyrese Haliburton has 13+ assists in four of the seven games this season and a double-double in six of seven games. Jalen Smith recorded his first double-double of the season (had 7 all last season), has now shot 50%+ in every game this season, and made 4+ field goals in each game.
NEXT UP: The Pacers five-game homestand will conclude Thursday night with the Milwaukee Bucks coming to town for the first time this season. Milwaukee played Wednesday night in Detroit and won 120-118. Giannis Antetokounmpo was ejected in the third quarter after picking up his second technical foul. Tip-off is set for 7pm eastern with the Kroger Pregame Show with Pat Boylan starting at 6:30pm eastern on 93.5/107.5 The Fan.
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