Utah Jazz finally succumb to Indiana Pacers
Published: December 5, 2013 08:12AM
Updated: December 4, 2013 11:18PM
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Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune The Utah Jazz are greeted by fans as they take the court prior to their game against the Indiana Pacers at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

Just minutes after the game ended, Gordon Hayward knew his cellphone would have more than a couple text messages from the 317 area code. All season long, his friends back home in Indiana had gloated over the Pacers’ success. So on Wednesday night, after Hayward’s Jazz helped pad the NBA’s best record with one more win, he knew it wouldn’t be any different.

“I probably already have text messages,” he said after Utah’s 95-86 loss at EnergySolutions Arena. “I’ll just ignore those.”

Utah controlled the game early against the first-place Pacers, and even held a lead early in the fourth quarter. But Indiana buckled down, using the stingiest defense in the league to hold the Jazz (4-16) to just 19 points in each the third and fourth quarters to take the victory.

“Really good win for our guys,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “Kind of a grind-it-out type of game.”

The Jazz jumped out to an early double-digit lead, thanks to continued impressive play by point guard Trey Burke.

Before the game, Vogel discussed the difficulties of scouting a rookie with limited playing time. But the Pacers coach said he was very familiar with Burke, having watched him closely in summer league.

Burke showed off his improvement since that rough stretch last summer in Orlando, knocking down a pair of first-quarter 3s to push the lead. The young point guard also got his teammates involved, working the pick-and-roll with forward Derrick Favors, who found success by pulling up for mid-range jumpers, avoiding big Roy Hibbert in the pain.

Burke finished with 13 points and nine assists, a new career high.

Favors, meanwhile, scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds on his way to his eighth double-double of the season.

Defensively, the Jazz were able to limit the Pacers to just 33 percent shooting in the first quarter. Indiana’s Paul George, coming off a career night in which he scored 43 points against the Portland Trail Blazers, struggled to find his stroke early. The man picked one selection behind Hayward in 2010 went just 2 for his first 8.

But the Pacers hung around thanks to 12 first-half points off the bench from Luis Scola, before making a 14-4 run to close out the first half, cutting the Jazz lead down to 1.

“We gave ourselves an opportunity. We just didn’t close it out,” said Hayward, who struggled from the field himself, going just 3 for 14 one game after having his best shooting night of the season. “They’re a solid team. Hopefully we can learn from this one.”

In the second half, the Pacers turned it up a notch.

George picked backup Diante Garrett’s pocket, and ran the court for a one-handed dunk and two of his team-high 19 points. When Favors and Hayward worked the pick and roll for what seemed like a sure basket, Hibbert, who said altitude and his asthma hurt his game in the first half, emerged to block the shot off the glass.

“They got physical,” said Jazz center Enes Kanter, who scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup.

When Hayward hit a 3-pointer with just over six minutes left in the game, the Jazz trailed 79-76. But the Pacers scored six unanswered points and Utah never got any closer.

“It was the small things tonight,” Burke said. “It wasn’t the big areas. I just think it was small areas — setting the screens, getting back in transition, getting critical stops when we needed them. … You can’t make mistakes with a team like that.”

The rookie added: “We did a good job tonight. We just didn’t do a great job.”

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

Pacers 95, Jazz 86

FG FT Reb

Indiana Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

George 40:49 7-20 4-4 1-6 4 2 19

West 32:14 5-14 0-0 0-5 8 1 10

Hibbert 34:09 6-9 1-2 1-9 1 6 13

GHill 29:54 5-9 0-0 0-4 3 1 10

Stphensn 33:23 6-11 3-5 0-5 4 2 15

Scola 16:27 6-12 2-2 3-6 0 2 14

Johnson 21:07 2-4 0-0 0-3 1 0 4

Watson 18:47 2-3 2-2 1-1 2 1 8

Mahinmi 13:10 1-2 0-0 1-2 1 2 2

Totals 240:00 40-84 12-15 7-41 24 17 95

Percentages: FG .476, FT .800. 3-Point Goals: 3-16, .188 (Watson 2-3, George 1-8, Stephenson 0-1, G.Hill 0-2, Johnson 0-2). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 8 (8 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Hibbert 2, Mahinmi, West). Turnovers: 8 (George 2, Stephenson 2, G.Hill, Johnson, Watson, West). Steals: 7 (George 2, Stephenson 2, Mahinmi, Watson, West). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 6:47 first Stephenson, 2:50 fourth.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Jefferson 21:04 2-6 0-0 0-1 1 2 4

Favors 37:28 9-18 4-4 4-13 0 5 22

Kanter 39:54 8-18 4-4 3-10 0 3 20

Burke 38:49 5-12 1-2 0-2 9 1 13

Hayward 37:40 3-14 4-4 1-4 6 3 12

Burks 26:56 4-10 3-4 2-5 3 1 11

Rush 10:20 1-1 0-0 1-1 0 2 2

Gobert 6:52 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Biedrins 4:13 0-0 0-0 0-3 0 1 0

Garrett 9:11 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

Harris 7:33 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 2

Totals 240:00 33-80 16-18 11-40 21 20 86

Percentages: FG .413, FT .889. 3-Point Goals: 4-11, .364 (Burke 2-2, Hayward 2-7, Jefferson 0-2). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 14 (20 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Harris, Kanter). Turnovers: 14 (Hayward 3, Burks 2, Kanter 2, Biedrins, Burke, Garrett, Gobert, Harris, Jefferson, Rush). Steals: 5 (Hayward 2, Jefferson 2, Favors). Technical Fouls: None.

Indiana 17 30 21 27 — 95

Utah 23 25 19 19 — 86

Attendance • 15,519

Time • 2:02.

Officials • Scott Foster, John Goble, Marat Kogut.