Well at least the offense appears to be clicking.
But the Pacers' lauded defense was nowhere to be seen, allowing open jumpers and back cuts to the basket all night long in a very disappointing 114-110 loss in OT.
The Pacers shot 54.3% from the field, which is almost unheard of for them, but they allowed 98 points in regulation and 16 more in overtime while allowing the Jazz to shoot at 53%. Even though they dominated the boards 41-28, the allowed about a zillion offensive rebounds in OT (in a row, mind you) and were extremely sloppy with the ball, turning it over 21 times with lazy passes and poor ball protection.
David West had 24, newly minted All-Star Paul George had 23, George Hill had 22 and Roy Hibbert had 14 and 12, but was repeatedly burned by the Jazz on the defensive end. DJ Augustin was the standout off the bench with 11, and it's good to see him finally gaining some confidence. Gerald Green, by the way, was sent back to be analyzed by doctors after complaining of feeling ill lately. Hopefully it's nothing serious.
Anyway, the Pacers played bad enough for most of the game but not bad enough to be blown out. Somehow, thanks to a trio of turnovers from Gordon Hayward, they came back to push the game into OT. And even when it looked like the game was over in OT, the Pacers managed to hit some ridiculously tough three-pointers (first Paul George then George Hill) to cut the game back to a one-possession game.
Then something strange happened. With just a few seconds to go, Al Jefferson inbounded the ball from his own baseline and it clipped the backboard on its way in, and was tapped around before it ended back in his hands and he was fouled, effectively ending the game.
There was a lot of confusion and the refs ruled that the ball had clipped the side/bottom of the backboard, meaning that it was not a violation.
According to Rule 1(c) of the NBA Rules:
c. Five sides of the backboard (front, two sides, bottom and top) are considered in play when contacted by the basketball. The back of the backboard and the area directly behind it are out-of-bounds.
Based on this rule, it meant that the ball was in play and the no-call was correct. However, it is arguable that the ball at least hit some of the back of the backboard, considering Jefferson was inbounding from behind the baseline, and photos showed the ball hit the bottom right corner from behind.
Moreover, I think this rule should have in any case been overruled by Rule 8 Section III (f) of the NBA Rules:
f. A throw-in which touches the floor, or any object on or outside the boundary line, or touches anything above the playing surface is a violation. The ball must be thrown directly inbounds.
The backboard is, technically, within the boundary line and therefore above the playing surface. I didn't write the rules but I don't know how else to interpret this other than that a throw-in that touches any part of the backboard on its way in is a violation, and the ball should have gone to the Pacers. Then again, a player is also "anything" above the playing service, so perhaps the rules are just badly written and don't make sense.
Not to say the ruling cost the Pacers the game, because quite honestly they didn't deserve to win it and should never have allowed themselves to be in that position in the first place.
The loss shouldn't be all that surprising considering how unstable the Pacers have been on the road, and this is the third game of a tough Western Conference road trip. The last leg of the trip is in Denver, and the Nuggets have traditionally been a horrible matchup for the Pacers. It will take one of their best efforts of the year to get the win.