Myles Turner reiterates his message as Pacers overcome tough odds to beat Jazz
Can this performance be a turning point? Carlisle: "We’re showing signs of the team we aspire to be."
Rick Carlisle has only been Myles Turner’s coach for 13 games, but perhaps he saw an outburst coming. Before the game, he was excited for the duel inside between Turner and Rudy Gobert.
“They’ve got one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the game. We have a great defensive player on our team in Myles Turner so it’s going to be interesting watching these two guys,” Carlisle said. “They’re the best that there is patrolling the lane. And people need to start to realize that there is amazing artistry in that kind of defensive ability.”
Turns out, he was right.
The Pacers wrapped up a four-game trip out west on Thursday in Salt Lake City against the only undefeated team at home (4-0). Their past three games on the trip had each been decided by four points or less and two in disappointment. They were 9.5-point underdogs and had played the night before in Denver. A back-to-back doesn’t get much more difficult.
“I think we could have packed it in and said there’s too much stacked against us, but we went out and took the fight to them,” said guard T.J. McConnell, who finished two points shy of his career high with 21 points.
Unlike in Wednesday’s loss to the Nuggets, the Pacers set the tone early by being physical and making the Jazz uncomfortable.
Assistant coach Lloyd Pierce was responsible for the game plan, works individually with Turner for pre-game shooting and was there when Turner needed him late in the game.
Turner had piled up 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks as he went up for another one against Gobert and prevented a layup with 4:07 to play. The Pacers were up by 12 and what came next was as stunning as it was appreciated by fans.
Gobert fell down and tugged on Turner’s shorts so he went down too. This photo makes that quite clear.
As Gobert started heading back to the other end, Turner brushed him with his right shoulder as if to say he won't tolerate that. They tangled up briefly before coaches and security intervened. Turner felt it was a dirty play.
“I just couldn’t believe there wasn’t a foul called,” he said. “I thought that was an easy call. I think it had been building up all game. Gobert had a dunk and he started talking shit, and I think it kind of build up from there. But then when he pulled my shorts, I wasn't about to have that so I had to stand up for myself in that situation. I don’t think I did anything wrong. But that’s not up for me to decide.”
He spoke to reporters over Zoom postgame and arrived wearing a salmon-colored hoodie with a logo on the front (pictured at the top). It’s the brand “2nd to None,” and Turner had it ready for this matchup.
Assistant coaches Ronald Nored and Pierce were first on the scene of the two tangling, followed by team security. Caris LeVert clapped on the sidelines; he appreciated Turner’s fight.
Turner and Gobert were each assessed technical fouls and ejected for the altercation. Utah's Joe Ingles was also tossed for unintentional contact with an official and acting as an instigator, as was Donovan Mitchell.