|Hill makes return to Indiana as Jazz visit Pacers|
INDIANAPOLIS -- When the Utah Jazz make their one and only trip to Indianapolis on Monday night to take on the Indiana Pacers, George Hill will be making his return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The guard spent five seasons with the Pacers before he was traded to the Jazz last summer. Hill also grew up in Indiana. Teammates Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack and Trey Lyles also have ties to the Hoosier state.
Hill scored 30 points in a 109-100 win over the Pacers when these teams met in Utah earlier this season.
Utah (43-27) is finishing a four-game road trip and has gone 1-2 on the trip thus far. They dropped the last two games to Cleveland and Chicago, falling 95-86 to the Bulls on Saturday night.
"We looked a little tired late," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "Not mentally tough enough to get stops when we needed to. Give the Bulls credit. They played with a lot of energy. I would like to think we could have done a little more to make it harder on them."
"Every loss hurts, especially this one," Utah center Rudy Gobert said. "It's kind of frustrating the way we lost it at the end. We have to react and keep being the team we have been all season."
For the Pacers (35-34), it's been a story of two different teams based on where they play. They have been impressive at home (24-10) and have really struggled on the road (11-24). They will be playing their second game in as many nights after losing 116-91 in Toronto on Sunday night.
"If we can bring the intensity and energy that we bring at home, we would be a 45 or 40 win team right now," Indiana forward Thaddeus Young said.
"We didn't win a quarter," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. "You can't win a game if you can't win a quarter. There was no pressure. We didn't disrupt this team tonight defensively."
The Pacers have now alternated wins and losses in 13 straight games, which is a franchise record. They're holding on to the No. 6-seed in the Eastern Conference, but three teams (Milwaukee, Detroit, Miami) are within a game and a half from them. They'll be playing at home in four of the next five games, and will need to take advantage as the season winds down.
The Pacers and Jazz are both in the top half of the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage, both at 37 percent.
Hayward (a former Butler star) was selected one spot ahead of Paul George in the 2010 draft. Both players have similar numbers for the season and will be an intriguing matchup. He's averaged 22.8 points per game against the Pacers over the last three seasons.
The Jazz have won three straight meetings with the Pacers and will try to sweep the season series with Indiana for the second straight year. Utah leads the all-time series with the Pacers 42-41.