INDIANAPOLIS — The Utah Jazz beat the Indiana Pacers 123-117 on Monday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. They’ve got one more game on this four-game trip against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, which means that at worst, the Jazz will finish their current road trip 2-2.

Closing out the post-trade deadline, pre-All-Star trip with a split would be great news for the Jazz after they sent out four contributing players at the deadline and the new guys (Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones) haven’t even had a chance to play with the Jazz yet.

For the people that want the Jazz to lose a maximum number of games to increase lottery odds, I can see how winning against the Pacers and Toronto Raptors would sting a little, but the way I see it, if the Jazz learned through this roster change that they are still a roughly .500 team with the pieces they have, that can easily inform what they do moving forward.

Now, onto some thoughts from Monday’s game.

Changing the pace in the second half

Jazz coaches thought they might run into some pace problems against the (ahem, pun intended) Pacers. The Indiana squad is really fast, led by Tyrese Haliburton’s ability to push after not only misses, but also makes.

“They are maybe the fastest team in the league at changing ends of the court,” Jazz head coach Will Hardy said.

“They are also committed to running. You can show as much film as you want about that, but you can’t simulate that speed and I thought early in the game it really caught us off guard.”

At halftime, Hardy re-emphasised the Jazz’s gameplan — with stopping the Pacers from pushing the ball up the court in such quick order their No. 1 priority. 

“We played a heavy transition game early and I think as the game went on our team adjusted and was able to keep them in the halfcourt,” he said.

“Our team did a good job of getting back and setting our defense and it allowed us to get more stops in the fourth quarter and ultimately helped us come up with the win.”

Hardy is really big on sticking to a plan and “staying the course,” as he likes to say, and the Jazz have seen some real benefits when they push through some early game struggles and make sure they don’t lose sight of a game plan.

This was just one more example of that.

Is Collin Sexton too fast?

Sometimes when Collin Sexton barrels down the court, he’s going so fast that it seems impossible for him to have any control over his legs, much less the ball he has in his hands.

Somehow, he manages to maintain composure in many of those situations and it’s a true gift, though sometimes it can really put pressure on the rest of the Jazz players to make sure that they’re trying to run back on offense to at least be near Sexton.

“I was joking during the beginning of the fourth quarter that if those guys wanted to get shots, they should probably stretch and start running,” Hardy said.

“Collin is going at a different speed than everybody else. You know, Collin is one of the fastest players in the NBA, and we encourage Collin to use his speed to push the tempo for us.”

And Sexton loves it.

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“A few times tonight they just couldn’t get back fast enough, not just my teammates but  the referees as well,” Sexton said with a laugh after Monday’s game.

“But I know if I’m running hard at someone, it’s almost like a football game. It’s kind of hard for them to change directions.”

Sexton’s ability to control the ball at that speed, right up to the rim, is so valuable for the Jazz. He attracts all the attention of the defense in those scenarios, and when the other Jazz players stay relatively close in trailing Sexton, it usually ends up well.

Sexton can often end up with three open shooters out on the perimeter, or even if he goes up into the trees and gets his shot blocked, Walker Kessler is right there for a putback.

The only time it’s an issue is when there’s no exit strategy and Sexton is so far ahead of the rest of the offense that if anything goes wrong, it puts the other team in a 5-on-4 situation.

It’s not that Sexton is too fast. Instead, it’s more that he is still learning how to use his speed to his advantage.

What could Simone Fontecchio become?

Ochai Agbaji and Simone Fontecchio have been getting more and more playing time recently, and it kind of got me thinking about what we hope to see out of these players.

Though there are many who are familiar with Agbaji’s game after he was a star for an NCAA title winning Kansas squad, not so many people are as familiar with Fontecchio, or ‘Tec,’ which is the nickname his teammates and coaches use.

I’ve been trying to come up with a player or players who I think could be used as a template for Fontecchio. I put the question to my Twitter followers and they delivered by suggesting some really good names.

In order to put this in terms that Jazz fans would be uniquely qualified to understand, here’s what I’ve come up with.

A mix between Joe Ingles and Georges Niang, but maybe even a little more athletic.

It’s possible that Fontecchio doesn’t end up with the defensive chops that Ingles had earlier in his career, but he makes up for that with the size of his frame and how strong and athletic he is.

Fontecchio’s frame and proportions are similar to Niang, but again, he’s a little bit faster and able to move laterally a bit more than Niang is.

I’m not saying that Fontecchio will end up being as good as Ingles was, or even Niang for that matter. But I think, with Fontecchio’s ability to make shots and quick decisions, there’s a chance for him to turn into that kind of player.

Stay tuned.