The Utah Jazz (9-9) made necessary adjustments without injured starter Rudy Gobert to beat the Indiana Pacers in overtime after falling to the Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic this week.
Utah lost 106-103 to Golden State on Monday, Nov. 30 and 103-94 to the Magic on Thursday, Dec. 3 and then beat the Pacers 122-119 in overtime on Saturday, Dec. 5.
An unfortunate injury occurred when Gobert suffered a grade II MCL sprain in practice on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Utah reported the starting center will be out indefinitely. Gobert’s presence was missed against the Magic and Pacers as the Jazz worked to adapt.
“Our defense is different (without Rudy),” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said in a press release following the Orlando loss. “We weren’t as aggressive. I just didn’t feel like we were as engaged defensively as we needed to be from the get-go.”
Golden State improved its winning streak to 19-0 in its 106-103 victory on Monday, Nov. 30. The Warriors edged the Jazz in 3-pointer shooting percentages, making 48.3 percent to Utah’s 31.6 percent. The Jazz fought hard in the Warriors’ closest game of the season, but guard Stephen Curry came up big in the final minutes where it counted. Curry led the Warriors with 26 points, five assists and six rebounds.
Forwards Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and guard Alec Burks played efficiently together, scoring 23, 24 and 19 points, respectively. Hayward also had six rebounds and two assists while Favors had 10 rebounds, five of which were offensive rebounds.
“I felt like our guys executed everything we tried to do and if we’re trying to do that, I think, by and large, we’ll be successful the majority of the time and then shots either fall or they don’t,” Snyder said in a postgame interview.
Utah had trouble in the first game after Gobert’s injury against Orlando in its 103-94 loss on Thursday, Dec. 3. The Jazz scored a season-high 14 3-pointers but turned the ball over 19 times.
The Jazz led by three with a score of 57-54 at halftime but Orlando picked up the defensive tempo in the third quarter and carried it throughout the second half. Utah couldn’t handle it and shot only 26.3 percent in the fourth quarter. Hayward said the game “unraveled quickly” as a result of the turnovers, after leading early in the game. Hayward was 6-for-6 and scored 16 of his 24 points in the first quarter.
“If you’re not getting stops on the defensive end, it kind of deflates your offense,” guard Trey Burke said in a postgame interview. “We get a little stagnant there and start missing shots.”
The Indiana Pacers are the No. 1 team in the NBA for their success at the catch-and-release shooting style but Utah’s plan to defend against that style paid off in their 122-119 overtime win over Indiana on Saturday, Dec. 5.
Utah led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter but Indiana came back to tie 84-84 at the end of the quarter. The Pacers led most of the fourth quarter as the Jazz battled back to force overtime.
Favors scored a career-high 35 points and 13 rebounds. Hayward had 22 points, five rebounds and five resists while Burke had 19 points off the bench. All-Star Pacer forward Paul George scored a career-high 48 points.
The Jazz will travel to Sacrament to play the Kings on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. MST and then return to the Vivint Smart Home Arena to play the New York Knicks the following day on Wednesday, Dec. 9 and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, Dec. 11. Tipoff begins at 7 p.m. MST for both home games.