INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Domantas Sabonis scored a career-high 42 points on 18 of 22 shots to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 125-113 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
Lance Stephenson contributed 16 points, a career-high 14 assists and four steals from the bench for the Pacers. Duane Washington Jr. added 16 points and Justin Holiday 15 for Indiana.
The Pacers ended a six-game losing streak and completed a Jazz season sweep.
“Lance gives us a different vibe,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “There’s a spark he has with his personality. There is a change in disposition, body language and enthusiasm. Throwing the ball can shake a lot of things. He has the ability to be unpredictable but in control. What’s intriguing about Lance is that he’s so selfless. He is a giver and he is a giver of energy.
Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 36 points and nine assists. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 points and Jordan Clarkson 18 for Jazz.
Stephenson had seven assists in the fourth quarter and four at Sabonis Carlisle said Sabonis and Stephenson were a good fit.
Stephenson, who joined the team on a 10-day contract ahead of the Jan. 2 game in Cleveland, said he has felt more comfortable the past two games.
“We’re playing together now that I know the games,” said Stephenson, who scored 30 against Brooklyn on Wednesday night. “The first two games, I didn’t know the pieces. I didn’t know all of my teammates. I was just doing the readings.
Stephenson, on his third stint with the Pacers, has already played with Sabonis. Sabonis has said he loves playing pick-and-roll with Stephenson.
“He’s a very smart player, he knows how to play,” Sabonis said. “We love having it.”
Overall, Sabonis said the team have shared the ball well lately.
Indiana shot 56 percent in the first half to take a 61-52 halftime advantage. Utah used a 12-0 run to reduce the lead to 70-69 midway through the third quarter. Indiana maintained a 90-86 lead after three quarters.
Holding a 101-97 lead, Holiday started an 8-0 streak with 3 straight points. Indiana kept their lead.
The Pacers shot 55% while the Jazz shot just under 48% from the field.
Mitchell said the levels of focus and exertion need to be higher.
“If we want to be a champion team, we have to do it every night,” Mitchell said. “And tonight, we didn’t.”
Mitchell said the team don’t do the little things often enough defensively.
“In order for us to be where we need to be, we need to do it with every possession, and I can’t say we’ve done it,” said Mitchell.
It was the second night of a straight game for Utah, which lost to Toronto on Friday night.