Pacers Silence Jazz

By J.M. Nicholas

In their only meeting of the season, the Utah Jazz and the Indiana Pacers went back and forth all night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The game, which featured Gordan Hayward returning to Indiana, had 14 lead changes.

The Brownsburg, Indiana native and former Butler Bulldog scored 11 points, but his team eventually fell to the Pacers 104-99. Hayward spoke about playing in front of his hometown crowd as a pro for only the second time. “It was great coming home and playing in front of my friends and especially my family. It was great hearing the response from the fans that were supporting me.”

The Pacers led 71-50 early in the third quarter, but then missed ten shots in a row, and the Jazz came back to take the lead. Utah shot 11 out of 12 on their way to a 35-13 run,  and took a 85-84 lead early in the fourth quarter. The game only had three ties, but got very physical late, with more fouls and less scoring from both teams. Neither team scored more than 22 points in the game’s final quarter, but the Pacers held on for the victory.

Danny Granger struggled early, shooting 1-8 from the field, but came on strong late in the game. Granger scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, coming alive to lead Indiana’s rally to the win. The early Indiana run was led by point guard Darren Collison, who scored 17 points in the first half. Collison finished the game with 25 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Roy Hibbert had another strong performance, with 17 points, ten rebounds, and four blocked shots. Hibbert, Indiana’s most likely all-star candidate, is averaging 13 points and nine rebounds per game this season.

The Pacers play the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday, as part of back-to-back games. The Jazz are off until Friday, where they will face the Oklahoma City Thunder, in Utah.


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