Pacers Can’t Lock Down Bogdanovic, But Beat Jazz

Nov 27, 2019, 9:17 PM
Bojan Bogdanovic - Utah Jazz - Indiana Pacers...
Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Utah Jazz watches the action against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 27, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana looked like they had one goal in mind when hosting the Jazz on the day before Thanksgiving: stop former Pacer Bojan Bogdanovic. While they didn’t win that battle, Indiana was able to win the war and take down Utah 121-102.

Bogdanovic scored a team-high 30 points for the Jazz including 17 in the 3rd quarter. His last basket of the period cut Indiana’s lead to 83-80. The Pacers were able to outscore Utah 6-0 the rest of the quarter and 38-22 the rest of the game.

“(The Pacers) felt comfortable the whole night,” said Donovan Mitchell, who scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half. “It’s on all of us.”

Bogdanovic looked comfortable early in the game. On Utah’s first possession he nailed a 3-pointer from the wing and scored 2 more points on a couple of free throws. Indiana then clamped down on Utah’s best shooter for most of the rest of the half.

“They were into us on every single pass and every single screen…and pushed us away from the basket,” said Bogdanovic.

Pacers wing T.J. Warren would not stray from Bogdanovic while he guarded the former Pacer, even refusing to pick up another Jazzman driving to the basket. While Indiana employed that defense, Bogdanovic was given the opportunity to initiate the offense with mixed results. Warren and the Pacers were physical with him and forced Bogdanovic to make some impossible passes. The Croatian sensation turned the ball over 4 times before the break.

Bogdanovic showed some life right before the break, forcing his way inside for a bank shot which cut Indiana’s lead to 53-43 and gave him 9 points at the break. He then caught fire in the 3rd.

From 8:39 mark of the quarter until 2:05 left in the period, Bogdanovic scored 13 of his 17 points 3rd quarter points, including three 3-pointers.

“I think one of the reasons he went on that run was because guys were finding him,” said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder.

Bogdanovic’s teammates found him early in the offense or in transition so that the Pacers didn’t have the chance to recover.  It just wasn’t enough after the 2-minute mark of that 3rd quarter.

“We knew how physical a team they were and we just need to be better,” said Snyder, who also acknowledged that Indiana blitzed the Jazz at the end of the first three periods. “They were the more aggressive team and it showed the way they attacked the basket.”

Domantas Sabonis and Warren each had 23 points apiece and Malcolm Brogdon scored 22. Each of those players shot over 50% for the game.

Bogdanovic was 4-7 from the 3-point line, but the rest of the team was 6-25 from behind the arc and didn’t make a single 3-pointer in the 4th quarter.

Even though Bogdanovic’s team didn’t win, he was thankful to return to Indianapolis.

“Nice to see those familiar faces from the city. I spent two great years here. (The team and city) helped to show everyone who I am.”

The Jazz (11-7) are currently 0-2 on their current road trip and next play in Memphis on Friday night.  The last time the Jazz visited the birthplace of rock-and-roll, Utah lost 107-106.

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