Up-and-down Pacers climb past Jazz
INDIANAPOLIS -- Win one. Lose one. Win one. Lose one.
The Indiana Pacers’ strange February and March trend continued Monday night with a 107-100 victory against the Utah Jazz in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Beginning with a Feb. 16 loss to Washington, Indiana has a 14-game stretch in which it has alternated wins and losses, compiling a 7-7 record.
Paul George made a clutch jumper with 18.9 seconds remaining, and Indiana overcame Gordon Hayward’s career-best 38 points.
A three-point play from Jeff Teague with 5:58 remaining gave Indiana a 94-84 lead. Utah got a 3-pointer and a layup from Hayward to close to within 100-97 with 2:11 left.
George’s 3-pointer with 1:58 remaining gave the Pacers (36-34) a 103-97 lead.
“Tonight, we played with a sense of urgency,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. “Sunday night in Toronto -- for whatever reason -- we did not. Tonight, guys were diving on the floor for loose balls. I didn’t see that in Toronto. Don’t ask me to explain it. It’s obvious our guys feed off our crowd. This is the game we have to play the rest of the season.”
Teague led Indiana with 21 points, George added 19, Myles Turner scored 16 and C.J. Miles had 15. Monta Ellis scored 12 and Glenn Robinson III finished with 10 against the Jazz.
“I didn’t want us to start out flat again,” said Miles, who scored 13 first-half points, finishing 3 of 3 from 3-point range. “We have to start communicating on the road as well as we do at home. We have to be better on the road. Tonight we had a good team effort.”
The Pacers hit 43.7 percent of their shots (38 of 87). Utah shot 45.5 percent (40 of 88). Indiana was 10 of 20 from beyond the arc. Utah was only 6 of 26.
“We were a group out there tonight,” Teague said. “We played well, and we played hard. They have some very talented players, and while Hayward had a big night, we just tried to make it tough on them.”
Utah (43-28) lost its third in a row. In addition to Hayward’s 38, Rudy Gobert and George Hill each scored 16.
“I would absolutely prefer to win the game,” Hayward said of scoring his career high in what essentially is the Brownsburg, Ind., native’s hometown. “I would rather have zero points and win the game. Offense wasn’t our problem tonight. We couldn’t get stops.”
Teague had 12 points, two rebounds and two assists in the third quarter, and George added seven points, helping Indiana increase its five-point halftime lead to 80-70 through 36 minutes.
The Pacers also outscored the Jazz 7-0 from the free-throw line during third-quarter action.
Hayward had a 10-point third quarter and was 13 of 19 from the field and 2 of 2 from the free throw line for 30 points through the first 36 minutes.
The rest of the Jazz were a collective 16 of 45 (35.6 percent) during the first three quarters.
“You’re only as good as your last game, and our last game is a loss,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “A couple of games ago in Detroit, we felt pretty good about ourselves. We have to find a way to keep grinding and winning. We’ve got to get home and get back to it.”
The Pacers led 51-46 at halftime when Robinson III sank a half-court 3-pointer at the buzzer. Miles led Indiana with 13 first-half points, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range. Miles, Teague, Ellis and Robinson III were a collective 7 of 8 from beyond the arc.
Indiana shot 40 percent during the opening 24 minutes (18 of 45).
Hayward had 20 first-half points for the Jazz, making 8 of 9 field goal attempts. His teammates were a collective 10 of 31 in the opening two quarters.
Utah outrebounded Indiana 27-21 but turned the ball over eight times in first-half action.
NOTES: The Pacers led by five at halftime despite F Paul George and G Jeff Teague making a combined 2 of 17 field-goal attempts. ... George was 0 of 8 from the field in the first half, the first time this season he failed to make a field goal during the first 24 minutes. He finished 6 of 20. ... Utah G Rodney Hood returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a sore right knee. He scored 11 points. ... Jazz G Shelvin Mack, who played college basketball at Indianapolis-based Butler, missed the game with a left ankle sprain ... The game featured former Indiana high school standouts Gordon Hayward (Brownsburg), George Hill (Indianapolis Broad Ripple) and Trey Lyles (Indianapolis Tech) of Utah and Jeff Teague (Indianapolis Pike) and Glenn Robinson III (Lake Central) of Indiana. ... Utah is one of only five teams to have won 20 or more road games this season.