"We have a three-game losing streak, so we have to play harder and we have to play better," Utah point guard George Hill said. "But it's no time to panic. Indiana did a good job of making big shots, and we didn't do enough to pull it off. We just need to gather ourselves and have a good end to the season."
Utah feels it didn't play with enough force and urgency defensively in the first half Monday. And even though the Jazz made several runs at the Pacers in the second half — including a furious rally at the end — Indiana made enough plays down the stretch to secure the win.
The Jazz were disappointed because they wasted a terrific effort from Gordon Hayward, who was sensational with a career-high 38 points. He went 16 of 24 from the field and 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Hayward willed the Jazz back into the game in the fourth quarter, along with Rudy Gobert, who scored 16 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked eight shots.
Problem is, those two didn't get enough help from the others. Hill scored 16 points, but didn't really turn it on until the fourth quarter. Rodney Hood — back from a sore knee after three games — scored 11 points, but clearly wasn't at 100 percent.
"I'd rather have zero points and win the game," Hayward said. "Offense wasn't our problem tonight. We couldn't get stops for some reason. It's a four-game road trip, it's March, almost April. We have to try and figure out where we are going to be down the stretch.
The Jazz, for a third consecutive game, didn't shoot the ball well. They went 45 percent from the field, which wasn't bad. But they shot 6 of 26 from 3-point range and missed six free throws.
The Jazz struggled in the game throughout, trailing by as much as 13 points but never losing contact. But Gobert's dunk with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter gave the Jazz their last lead at 11-10. The Pacers led the entire way after that.
Utah drew within 103-100 with 1:45 remaining, and actually had a shot in the air to tie. But Hayward's three was long, and Paul George hit two huge shots to seal the game.
"You're only as good as your last game, and our last game was a loss," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "A couple of games ago in Detroit, we felt pretty good about ourselves. We have to figure out a way to keep grinding and winning. We have to have the urgency."
Utah finishes its final long road trip of the season at 1-3. The Jazz fall to 43-28 on the season. Monday marked the first time George Hill played against his old team in Indianapolis since he was traded away from the Pacers last summer.
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