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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Indiana's Victor Oladipo is fouled by Utah's Rudy Gobert in the first half Wednesday in Indianapolis. Oladipo scored just 13 points in the loss.

Thursday, March 08, 2018 1:00 am


Jazz just too hot for Pacers

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – The Utah Jazz are doing everything they can to crash the crowded Western Conference playoff picture.

Rudy Gobert had 23 points and 14 rebounds, Donovan Mitchell finished with 20 points and six assists, and Utah crept closer to a possible playoff berth with a 104-84 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

The Jazz were 17-26 after losing to the Pacers on Jan. 15, but they've gone 18-4 since to reach 35-30. They were a half-game behind Denver for the eighth seed before the Nuggets hosted Cleveland later Wednesday.

“We just play for one another,” Gobert said. “Everyone is on the same page. Everyone wants to win, and you can feel that. There's a focus in the locker room. It's great.”

And it's evident – especially on the road. After starting the season 5-19 in contests away from Salt Lake City, the Jazz have won nine straight road games.

Ricky Rubio finished with 18 points and seven assists for Utah, and reserve Jae Crowder added 16 points. Joe Ingles had 11 points and 10 assists.

After falling behind early, Utah outscored Indiana 28-12 over the final eight minutes of the first quarter and led 54-44 at halftime. Indiana pulled within single digits a couple of times in the third, but Utah was too much on a night when the Pacers shot 38.6 percent from the floor.

Indiana had two small runs where they used a fast-paced offense to push the ball up the floor, but the Jazz were prepared and countered with tremendous transition defense.

“We followed the game plan and tried to get back on defense because they are a good team in transition,” Rubio said. “We wanted to play 5-on-5 as much as possible. We are learning how to be good as a team. When things go wrong, we talk and figure things out, especially on the road.”

The lone bright spot for Indiana on offense was Myles Turner, who finished with 24 points. Bojan Bogdanovic and Victor Oladipo each scored 13 points, and Cory Joseph had 12 points and six rebounds.

ROCKETS 110, BUCKS 99: In Milwaukee, James Harden scored 26 points, Eric Gordon had 18 points and two momentum-swinging 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Houston beat Milwaukee for its 17th straight win.

The Rockets passed the Boston Celtics for the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. Houston hasn't lost since Jan. 26 at New Orleans.

BULLS 119, GRIZZLIES 110: In Chicago, Lauri Markkanen scored 22 points, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn added 21 apiece, and Chicago hung on to hand the Memphis its 15th straight loss.

Justin Holiday added 14 points – going 5 for 5 from the field and nailing four 3-pointers.

RAPTORS 121, PISTONS 119, OT: In Detroit, DeMar DeRozan scored 42 points, then fed Fred VanVleet for the tiebreaking jumper from the left corner with 1.1 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Toronto past Detroit.