INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Pacers coach Nate McMillan saw exactly what he wanted Monday night.
Big men Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner showed off their strength. Bojan Bogdanovic knocked down shots from the perimeter. Indiana shared the ball and played defense.
With All-Star guard Victor Oladipo sidelined with an injured right knee, the Pacers delivered their most complete game of the season. Bogdanovic scored 21 points, Sabonis nearly had a triple-double and Turner added 12 points and six rebounds to lead the Pacers past the Utah Jazz 121-94.
“When I talk about ball movement and you get those opportunities from the (3-point line) and all over the place and you get everybody involved, this is what we’re talking about,” McMillan said.
The result: Indiana won its third straight, all at home, and recorded its most lopsided victory since opening night.
They didn’t miss Oladipo one bit.
Bogdanovic went 9 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Sabonis had 19 points, nine rebounds and a career-high nine assists in 26 minutes, and Turner wound up with four assists and three blocks.
The Pacers also forced 18 turnovers, committed three and had a season-high 35 assists.
The numbers only told part of the tale.
“They executed the game plan perfectly,” McMillan said. “We needed to get pressure on Utah. They do a good job of executing their half-court offense. I thought we did that, and then we got out (on offense) and played at the tempo we wanted.”
Sure, it came against a weary opponent closing out a five-game trip.
Ricky Rubio matched his season high with 28 points and had six assists and four turnovers. Center Rudy Gobert finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds but wasn’t much of a factor. Jae Crowder scored 14 and was the only other Jazz player to reach double figures.
Coach Quin Snyder even gave his starters some extra rest, pulling the last of his starters with 5:03 to play.
“They came out and blew stuff up,” Donovan Mitchell said after scoring seven points. “I had two turnovers early just from being loose with it. That set the tone.”
It was never really close after Indiana jumped to a 19-12 lead and opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to make it 39-19.
Rubio answered with a 14-point scoring flurry in the second quarter, and a 3 from Joe Ingles cut the deficit to 47-41.
Indiana answered with four straight points, closed the half with a 57-47 lead and started the second half on a 9-0 run to make it 71-53 and the Jazz never got closer than 12 the rest of the game.
Jazz: Went 2-3 on the trip. … Gobert has 15 double-doubles this season. … Rubio and Gobert combined for 15 baskets. The rest of the team had 21. … Ingles played in his 239th consecutive game, the NBA’s second-longest active streak. … Utah was outscored 33-11 on points off turnovers and was outrebounded 44-33.
Pacers: Have won four of five and improved to 3-4 against Western Conference teams. … Tyreke Evans made his first start with Indiana and had eight points and five assists in place of Oladipo. … Rookie Aaron Holiday scored 19 points while Thaddeus Young and Doug McDermott each had 12.
Following the game, McMillan pointed to one telling stat.
Last season, the Pacers were winless without Oladipo. This season, they’re 1-0.
“Tonight they stepped in as a team and played solid,” he said. “You’ve just got to find a way to go out and get it done.”
THEY SAID IT
Jazz: “We have to play with more force, more precision defensively and we have to finish possessions and need everyone on the defensive end,” Snyder said. “They were more physical than us.”
Pacers: “I feel like every game we play and a little bit more and every game we play more, I feel like our chemistry builds,” Sabonis said when asked about teaming with Turner.
Jazz: Plays its only home game in a 13-day stretch when Sacramento comes to town Wednesday.
Pacers: Will try to extend their winning streak Wednesday in Charlotte.