SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Myles Turner missed Indiana’s last game with a sore ankle. He returned with a rested body and renewed determination against Utah.
“Sitting the San Antonio game was hard but it was the best thing for me,” Turner said. “I was aggressive tonight on offense and defense.”
Turner scored all of his 16 points in the first three quarters and helped limit Rudy Gobert’s effectiveness as the Pacers rolled to an easy victory without Victor Oladipo, beating the Jazz 121-88 on Monday night.
“I lured him from the paint. He’s a shot-blocker and it opens the lane for our attacking guards and we got more for everybody else,” said Turner, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
Doug McDermott scored a season-high 21 points to help replace the 21.4 averaged by Oladipo, who missed his fourth game with a sore right knee.
“I got in a rhythm early, moving around without the ball,” McDermott said. “The ball was moving side to side. It wasn’t sticking at all.”
Seven Pacers reached double figures. Tyreke Evans scored 14 points and Cory Joseph and Domantas Sabonis each had 13.
The Pacers shot a season-best 58.3 percent and made half of their 18 3-point attempts.
Donovan Mitchell, who scores 20.6 per game, sat out his second game with bruised ribs and Utah was playing a back-to-back, but it was 19 turnovers and poor shooting that buried the Jazz and dropped their usually stellar home record to 2-6.
Derrick Favors scored 13 points, Gobert had 12 and Joe Ingles scored 10.
“We can’t wait until we’re 19-and-whatever-the-hell-we-were last year to decide to wake up and start playing. We’ve got an opportunity to do it early and now,” Ingles said, referring to Utah’s turnaround last season, which ended with a 29-6 finish.
But they need to tighten up the basics. The Jazz repeatedly tried to dribble through the Pacers’ tenacious defense or pass over their outstretched hands. Even Utah’s traditionally supportive crowd booed at times as Utah’s turnovers led to 25 Indiana points.
“Right from the start, we established ourselves defensively,” said Indiana coach Nate McMillan, whose players tied a season high with 13 steals.
If the Jazz got past the ball pressure, Turner was there to turn away drives in the lane. On offense, the Pacer center made his first five shots, mostly on mid-range jumpers off pick-and-pop actions.
Turner signed a four-year, $72 million extension in the offseason and the big man from Texas went to work earning it, dropping fat, gaining muscle and improving his shot during the summer.
After a four-game stretch where he didn’t score more than nine points, Turner has reached double figures in five consecutive games.
“This is how I should be playing every night. I’m going to miss some shots and make some shots, but that can’t determine the way I play out there. I’ve got to bring it,” Turner said.
Turner scored 11 points in the first half to help Indiana take a 58-47 lead.
The Jazz have lost six of eight.
Pacers: The Pacers beat the Jazz 121-94 last Monday. “Our two most complete wins are both against the Jazz,” McDermott said. ... Indiana is 8-0 when making at least half its field goal attempts. ... The Pacers had their largest margin of victory this season and their first 30-point-plus win on the road in 22 years.
Jazz: Ricky Rubio had 23 points on 10 of 13 shooting on Sunday against Sacramento but just six points on 2 of 8 shooting against the Pacers, typical of his up-and-down season. ... Thabo Sefolosha and Ingles both got technical fouls. ... Utah went 8 for 31 on 3s.
The Pacers have three more games on this road trip and it’s not certain when Oladipo, who is traveling with the team, may return. A big win in the initial game set a good tone.
“It’s very important,” Joseph said. “We know it’s tough coming out to Utah and playing in this building, so we came out with a lot of energy, determined to get this first one.”
No one seems to know why the Jazz are playing below all expectations. Even Utah coach Quin Snyder was at a loss after the game. He repeated the phrase “got to keep working” several times and said, “There’s no one thing you point to. We just have to play better ... keep grinding until we play better.”
Pacers: Continue their road trip at Phoenix on Tuesday night.
Jazz: Visit the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.