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Out-paced: Jazz not much competition for Indiana in setting franchise low for production

Indiana's Danny Granger, right, and Utah's Devin Brown fight for a loose ball Tuesday in Salt Lake.
Indiana's Danny Granger, right, and Utah's Devin Brown fight for a loose ball Tuesday in Salt Lake.
Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

When Devin Brown exited the Delta Center floor for the final time Tuesday night, the Jazz guard slapped at his chair as he took a seat.

He could have been swatting for the entire team.

An 84-60 loss to Indiana — merely the Jazz's lowest-scoring home game ever, and second-lowest in regular-season franchise history — can be aggravating like that.

"A loss like this, so much is running through my mind — not only my mind, but other teammates' minds," Brown said. "You hate to lose like this, because in the second half they were talking to us and they were bringing it at us.

"That's what's frustrating," Brown added after Utah mustered no more than 19 points in any one quarter. "That's why I slapped the chair — it's frustrating, because it's not a hard game when you play together."

And the Jazz, on this evening, were on about as many different pages as a Dan Brown novel.

"It's one of these games that we've got to forget about," said forward Matt Harpring, a Jazz captain.

"We just didn't play well," Harpring added. "We didn't execute, we didn't pass the ball. I mean, you can analyze the whole game and think of what we didn't do."

OK, let's.

For starters, the 6-9 Jazz couldn't get going in the opening chapter.

After Harpring made a jumper on Utah's initial possession, its next eight possessions produced absolutely nothing — and the Jazz wound up the quarter shooting just 27.8 percent from the field en route to a 33.3 percent night.

In the second quarter, they simply could not hold onto the ball.

Utah committed 10 of its 20 turnovers in that period, including two each by season-scoring leader Mehmet Okur, who finished with just eight points; Deron Williams, whose 14 points marked the Jazz's only double-figures scoring; and Andrei Kirilenko, who looked a bit rusty coming off the bench in his first game back after missing seven straight with a sprained ankle.

Despite all that, though, they still were down just 34-27 at the break as Indiana committed eight second-quarter miscues of its own.

"We still had a chance to be in the ballgame," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, "but we never could get anything going.

"Everything we did was slow," added Sloan, whose club had just one game in the six nights prior to Tuesday. "We never could get any energy to run the floor. I'd say that is the most difficult thing to have to sit and watch — our (inability) to run the floor. I think our guys are in pretty good shape, but it looked like we were running in mud."

And by the end of a decisive third quarter, the Jazz did not just have mud on their face.

They were a complete disgrace.

Indiana outscored Utah 29-14 in the first 12 minutes after halftime, taking a 63-41 lead into the fourth behind Jermaine O'Neal's game-high 21 points (he also had 15 rebounds) and another 14 points from Stephen Jackson.

"We were still in the game after playing about as bad as you can play," Williams said, "and we came out in the second half and played even worse."

Utah was blanked on its first five possessions of the third — Greg Ostertag's missed jumper, 3-point misses by Okur and Harpring, a Brown turnover and another Harpring miss.

The 9-4 Pacers led by 20 or more throughout the fourth, leaving the Jazz to take this one for what it was worth.

For some, that means turning it into a teaching tool.

"We've got to learn from this," Brown said. "When teams come in here — especially the teams that are competitive in the playoffs — we've got to stand up and match their physical play."

For others, it means whatever it takes to wash away a particularly ugly memory.

"If we just look back and keep remembering this game, we're not going to get any better," Harpring said. "It was just one of those games that, honestly, you don't even want to keep thinking about, because there is nothing really good that comes out of (it).

"This was a bad loss," he added, "but a month from now we're not even going to realize what kind of loss it was. It's just going to show up as a loss."

It will — the Jazz's fifth loss, in fact, in seven outings so far at home, where Tuesday's announced crowd of 17,021 was the fourth-worst at the Delta Center this season and the sixth-worst in franchise history.

That Utah is 4-4 on the road was not much consolation to Jazz ears Tuesday, especially not after they spent so much of the second half listening to the Pacers yap about just how easy they were having things.

"We have to get back to .500, and get this thing going in the right direction," said Brown, looking forward to Thursday's TNT-televised Delta Center meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers. "Whether we're playing home or away, at the University of Utah or in the Pacific Ocean, it don't matter.

"We've got to get this thing together."


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com