Make that two in a row!
Following a resounding 152-111 win against the San Antonio Spurs, where they tied the team record for the most points in a game, the Indiana Pacers returned to action Wednesday against the Utah Jazz, led by Lauri Markkanen and not much else.
Coming into the game, the Jazz sat at a record of 2-6 and ranked among the worst teams in the NBA despite having a pretty fun and productive 2022-23 season. Because of this, the Pacers' chances of victory were relatively high going into the game, boosted by the fact that young center Walker Kessler would be out of action against Indiana.
With the loss of Kessler, the Pacers had one less big man to worry about as they invited the Jazz to town and took care of business at home, winning 134-118 in Gainsbridge Fieldhouse.
Going into the game, momentum was the key, as Pacers fans did not want to see a team that dropped 152 points just two days earlier get lazy and coast against a much inferior team.
Since this Pacers team has a reputation for getting lazy at times, especially in the third quarter, allowing worse teams to make the game close and even win, as we saw against the Charlotte Hornets, this Utah game was a test in my eyes.
It was a test to see whether the Pacers would play down to Utah's level and make the game closer than it should be or if they would take charge early and blow them out as they were supposed to.
What we got was a little bit of both sides, as the Jazz kept it close until the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a typical slow Pacers third quarter to enter the fourth only down three.
However, the fourth quarter was when the Pacers stopped playing games and put the Jazz away, scoring 33 points to Utah's 20 in the fourth and ultimately winning by 16 points and pushing their overall record for the season to 5-3, becoming one of only three Eastern Conference teams to have five or more wins to their name.
Watching this game, plenty of things stood out, as they do for every Pacers game. In total, I picked out four key points to bring up, as I believe these are key things to look out for going forward, including one that was a very nice surprise and one that could haunt the Pacers going forward, especially when playing teams such as the Jazz.