SALT LAKE CITY -- Gordon Hayward had his right arm in a sling as he sat in front of his locker, hampered by a sprained shoulder.
This was one rough night for the reserve swingman. But at least it was a winning one.
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Utah scored the first six points in overtime after blowing a 97-89 lead with 2:44 left in regulation. Hayward coughed up three turnovers to George Hill in the final minute of the fourth.
"I rushed things a little bit too much," Hayward said. "You got to give them credit. Good defensive plays for sure. My teammates bailed me out for sure."
Hayward scored 15 points, but had the ball stolen from him three times on the final three possessions for Utah in regulation.
The Jazz held a 98-94 lead when Hill stepped in front of Hayward's attempted pass to Jefferson and took it in for layup to cut the lead to two. Hill picked Hayward's pocket again a few seconds later, leading to George's tying free throws with 9.5 seconds left.
Utah still had a time for a potential winning shot, but never got a chance to run a play after Hill stole the ball from Hayward a third time to force overtime.
The Jazz bounced back by making five consecutive baskets to open the overtime period. The final one, a long jumper from Jefferson, gave the Jazz a 108-102 lead with 1:51 remaining.
Utah stayed one step ahead on offense throughout the game and ended up shooting 53 percent from the field.
"We have to tighten the screws on defense," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We put 90 percent of our emphasis into riding the ship on the offensive end. You reach a point where you realize you have to tighten the screws. It's tough to beat good teams in their buildings when you aren't tied together on defense."
The Pacers pulled within three on a 3-pointer by George with 30.6 seconds left. Hayward blocked George when he tried another 3 on Indiana's next possession. Randy Foye then sank a pair of free throws with 6.4 seconds to go to seal the win.
"They still made it tough," Jefferson said. "Even when we thought we had the game won, they made something out of nothing every time."
After a listless second quarter, the Jazz bounced back in the third. Utah neutralized Indiana's advantage on the glass by attacking the rim and forcing the Pacers to settle for outside shots.
Indiana put together a couple of rallies, but Utah had a response for each charge -- until the Pacers' final surge to force overtime.
Hill's jumper trimmed the Jazz's lead to 73-68, but Hayward closed the third with a three-point play and Favors scored on the first play of the fourth to push the lead back to 10.
The Pacers trimmed the lead to three on Roy Hibbert's basket with 4:22 left. Then Jefferson took over, making a free throw and a pair of baskets to increase Utah's advantage to eight.
|After squandering a late fourth-quarter lead, the Jazz score the first six points in OT to defeat the Pacers. (Getty Images)|
|Utah (24-19) «||27||18||31||22||16||114|
|IND:D. West 24 Pts
IND:R. Hibbert 12 Reb
IND:G. Hill 8 Ast
|UTA:A. Jefferson 25 Pts
UTA:A. Jefferson 6 Reb
UTA:J. Tinsley 9 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|P. George, SF||48||8-17||4-4||5||4||5||23|
|G. Hill, PG||46||10-16||0-1||9||8||2||22|
|D. West, PF||42||9-15||6-8||7||3||3||24|
|R. Hibbert, C||35||6-11||2-2||12||3||4||14|
|L. Stephenson, SG||24||0-4||0-0||1||0||3||0|
|D. Augustin, PG||30||4-9||1-1||1||3||0||11|
|I. Mahinmi, C||18||3-4||2-2||2||0||3||8|
|T. Hansbrough, PF||12||4-5||0-0||3||0||3||8|
|O. Johnson, SG||7||0-0||0-0||1||0||1||0|
|J. Pendergraph, PF||5||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|D. Granger, SF||Did Not Play|
|G. Green, SF||Did Not Play|
|B. Hansbrough, PG||Did Not Play|
|D. McGuire, PF||Did Not Play|
|M. Plumlee, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|P. Millsap, PF||38||8-13||5-5||4||2||2||21|
|A. Jefferson, C||37||11-20||3-4||6||1||2||25|
|R. Foye, PG||28||4-6||4-4||0||2||0||14|
|M. Williams, PF||26||3-7||0-0||2||2||0||6|
|J. Tinsley, PG||22||1-4||2-2||0||9||2||5|
|E. Watson, PG||31||1-1||0-0||4||5||1||2|
|G. Hayward, SG||30||5-12||5-5||3||6||3||15|
|D. Carroll, SF||22||4-5||1-2||2||1||4||9|
|D. Favors, PF||19||4-9||3-4||4||0||3||11|
|E. Kanter, C||11||3-6||0-0||3||0||1||6|
|R. Bell, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Williams, PG||Did Not Play|
|A. Burks, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. Evans, SF||Did Not Play|
|K. Murphy, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|