Pacers look to keep hot hand going vs. Jazz

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Can the Indiana Pacers keep the momentum going when they host the Utah Jazz in Indianapolis on Wednesday?

The Pacers enter the contest with a three-game winning streak and have won seven of nine at home. They put on their best offensive performance of the season in a 126-114 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

Indiana got 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting from T.J. Warren — one of six players to score in double-figures. The Pacers shot better than 61 percent from the floor over the first three quarters. They also hit a season-high 18 3-pointers.

Malcolm Brogdon returned to the starting lineup after missing three games with lower back soreness. Brogdon finished with 14 points and eight assists. His presence on the court helped open things up for Warren, who averaged just 12 points on 31-percent shooting in Brogdon’s absence.

“Malcolm gets everybody in their spots,” Warren told the Pacers team website. “He’s a great point guard. Glad that he’s back in the lineup.”

Even with the uptick on offense, Indiana has sagged a bit on defense over its last two victories. That could be a concerning trend with a hot-shooting Jazz team on the horizon.

Each of the Pacers’ previous two opponents hit 13 3-pointers and shot better than 40 percent from the perimeter. They also gave up 62 points in the paint to the Grizzlies — even with Myles Turner registering a season-high five blocked shots.

“We have to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan said.

Utah is hoping to reclaim some momentum after losing 122-118 to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. The Jazz could not overcome a dominant performance from reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 50 points, 14 rebounds and six assists to rally the host Bucks in the second half.

Antetokounmpo almost singlehandedly negated a strong offensive outing from Utah. The Jazz shot 50.6 percent from the field and made 21 3-pointers against the Bucks. They had a chance to force overtime, but Donovan Mitchell’s layup was blocked with 4.4 seconds left.

“Milwaukee’s a terrific team, and Giannis showed why he’s the MVP,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder told the team website. “But I don’t think we made it easy. He just played at that level. I think our guys really responded, and we were in the game up until that last possession.”

Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic will make his return to Indianapolis for the first time since signing with Utah as a free agent this past summer. Bogdanovic makes his return to Indiana enjoying the same offensive explosion that made him a breakout star in his final season with the Pacers.

Bogdanovic averaged 18.0 points while shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from 3-point range last season. He has continued on the same trajectory with the Jazz so far this season. Bogdanovic has averaged 20.9 points on 47.2-percent shooting from the floor through 16 games. He is Utah’s top perimeter threat, knocking down 3.2 3-pointers per game and hitting 45.9 percent of his 3-point field goal attempts.

–Field Level Media

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