– The Utah Jazz started Earl Watson at the point guard, leaving Devin Harris (14 points, 7 rebounds) as a reserve… which makes perfect sense considering that he has barely practiced with his new team. “[Laughs] They came in here yesterday and we had a 6:30 practice so we had about an hour on the floor and then we had shootaround this morning where we walked through some things. So not a lot of time but they did a good job adjusting and we simplified some things,” said Utah Head Coach Tyrone Corbin in the post game.
– Andrei Kirilenko (14 points, 6 boards, 2 steals) with a great cut through the middle of the lane, where he caught the ball in rhythm, turned, and finished on the other side of the rim plus the foul. When he got up from the floor he was greeted with chants of “Justin Bieber” from Area 55–the Roy Hibbert themed cheering section. Not only does Andrei Kirilenko not watch television, but he only listens to Russian gypsy music. If Justin Bieber is smart, he would marry a woman with the same ideals that Kirilenko’s wife has…
– Both teams have been out of sync in the early going. Utah up 12-9 at t he 6-minute mark.
– Al Jefferson (30 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 steals) finished a dunk off of a nice baseline drive-and-dish by forward Paul Millsap.
-Roy Hibbert (14 points, 8 boards, 2 swats) with a nice drop-step and hook shot from the right block for his eighth point on 3-6 shooting in the early going.
– Devin Harris blows right by Darren Collison and two other Pacers defenders en route to an acrobatic layup. Guess he didn’t get jet lag from his journey across the country.
– Jefferson ran the floor and received an in rhythm pass from Harris and proceeded to pull-up after one dribble. Very nice body control from the big man.
– Gordon Hayward enters the game in Indiana for the first and only time all year to a very appreciative round of applause.
– Utah 24, Indiana 13 after one. As you might imagine, the Pacers field goal percentage is low–21% on 5-24 shooting. Ice Ice baby.
– Derrick Favors (6 points, 3 rebounds) scored on his first possession on the court as a member of the Jazz on a dunk that was created on by setting a good screen, rolling to the rim, and a fresh pass by CJ Miles.
– The Pacers look a little more N-Sync with their offense but are having trouble putting the peach in the basket. 32-21, Jazz lead at the 8 minute mark.
– Harris (27), Miles (23), Hayward(20), Favors(19), and Jefferson (26) on the court for Utah–young core for the Jazz.
– Josh McRoberts with an emphatic 360 slam as the result of a pretty give-and-go with Roy Hibbert in the left side. He’s playing like a guy who wants to be in his home state for a while.
– Duplication of that same give-and-go, except with a lay-in, knots the score up at 38 a piece. Hard cuts by McRoberts and timely passes by Hibbert are nice to see out of these young guys.
– Utah leads a slowly paced, low-scoring first half by the count of 43-38. Maybe Lance Stephenson sees some time in the second half?
– Hibbert established deep position in the post on Jefferson and made him pay with a smooth dunk, but Jefferson promptly answered him on the other end with a hook shot.
– Granger (16 points) with a hard drive to the rim and a step-back jumper, helping to cut the Jazz lead to 49-46.
– Al Jefferson is much more skilled than most people care to take note of. He posts up hard, pump-fakes defenders to death, and passes well in high-low situations. The problem with him in Utah (and the reason for his inconsistencies) lies in the fact that he is not a center and needs to be playing the power forward position regularly to be at the peak of his game.
– Danny Granger, AJ Price, and Lance Stephenson were previously recorded singing and dancing to MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” and it played on the Jumbotron. Hope that’s not the best air-time Lance gets all year…
– After AJ Price tied the game at 63, Devin Harris knifed his way to the rim with a decisive crossover and put the Nets, I mean Jazz, ahead 65-63 heading into the fourth.
– For the first three minutes of the fourth quarter we both got completely sidetracked from the game as we were debating whether Kobe and MJ both rip their teammates in a similar manner. Dave (from Chicago) believes that Kobe uses his team as an excuse more than Jordan while I believe that Jordan similarly ripped teammates to get them going more than Dave cares to admit? Thoughts, anybody?
– Jeff Foster either forgot that Gordon Hayward was in the middle of his homecoming, flat out didn’t care, or was looking to aid in Paul George’s recovery. Foster just violently rejected Hayward’s dunk attempt off the glass with authority. Welcome home, Gordon!
– Devin Harris just executed a filthy double behind-the-back move move, losing two defenders at the free throw line extended, and proceeded to knock down the shot.
– Jefferson with a smooth 20-footer from the left wing, Harris with a lob pass to Jefferson for an easy deuce, and Harris with a coast-to-coast lay-in, extending the Jazz lead to a commanding 81-71 advantage–their largest lead of the half–with 5:37 left.
-Danny Granger nails a big time three to cut the Jazz lead to 5, only to be negated by back to back buckets by Al Jefferson for his 28th and 30th points of the contest.
– Too much Al Jeff down the stretch propelled Utah to a 95-84 victory. Indiana drops to 26-31 while Utah climbs to 32-27 with the win. With young talent on both sides, each of these teams should be in the thick of things for the final spot in the playoffs in their respective conferences, so it’s worthwhile to keep tabs on them as they move forward.
– Tyrone Corbin’s thoughts on his first victory as coach of the Jazz after taking over on February 10th and going 0-4: “It feels great. The guys did a great job. It’s a great effort. They stayed in for the entire 48 minutes tonight. Can’t ask for anything more than that.”
– Paul Millsap talks about the pressure of getting a win after legendary Coach Jerry Sloan resigned: “A lot. I don’t want to say it’s unbearable because we fought through it, you know. Guys came out with a positive attitude and when you do that things like this happen. You win games and hopefully we can keep this up.”
– The Jazz are the first team to outrebound the Pacers (56-46) in 13 games since Frank Vogel was named interim head coach.
– Utah tied its season high with 13 blocked shots.
– With their 84 point output, the Pacers broke their streak of 11 games of scoring 100+ points tonight.