When the smoke cleared on Thursday night at Vivint Arena, four of the best players between Utah and Indiana were sent to the showers early.

In what amounted to no more than a mere scuffle — or bear hug between Rudy Gobert and Myles Turner — multiple players and coaches involved admitted that the whole incident could’ve been avoided.

Regardless, Utah’s comeback attempt eventually came up short as the Jazz fell 111-100 to the visiting Pacers on Thursday night.

Here are five things you need to know following the loss:

1.) Emotions Ran High… And For Good Reason
Before the whistles blew and the teams had to be separated, before the ball was tossed into the air to start the game, and before Quin Snyder took his seat in front of media for his pregame press conference, emotions were already high for the Jazz.

During their pregame press conference that morning, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles spoke passionately regarding the tragic death of Izzy Tichenor, a 10-year-old girl who committed suicide after being bullied at school.

“As an organization, there’s no doubt that everyone’s behind them (Tichenor family). Whatever we can do, we had a really good chat about some things that we can do obviously now, to try and help as best we can,” Ingles said this morning. “But also in the future to make sure this doesn’t happen again. And not just to a kid with special needs, just any kid every kid, every adult, everyone deserves to go to work or school or whatever we are doing and go and be free and enjoy it.”

Mitchell admitted postgame that he could compartmentalize the emotions associated with the racial and social issues surrounding the death. But he also said you couldn’t help but have more feelings against the Pacers considering the sensitivity of the situation.

“I can only speak for myself when I say, I don’t think it’s that difficult for me to do that,” Mitchell said. “Tonight you play for Izzy, you have that emotion. You put your heart and soul into that. … Especially for situations like that, it makes you go even harder because, at the end of the day, you realize the impact that you have playing this game.”

Although the Jazz lost the game, they’re winning where it matters most — off the court supporting their community.

2.) Players Give Honest Response For Escalating Situation
After the ejections of Mitchell (Utah), Ingles (Utah), Gobert (Utah), and Turner (Indiana), three of them (minus Ingles) all spoke with the media postgame about the kerfuffle.

Speaking at different times and in separate rooms, all of them essentially said the same thing. They believe that they’re all to blame and take full responsibility for what happened — but that it easily could’ve been avoided if officiated differently.

The three of them believe the lack of whistles by the officials led to the ultra-physical and competitive environment that later escalated in the fourth quarter.

“It’s really at a point now, especially tonight, where the referees are allowing things to get out of hand,” Mitchell said. “Both teams, we’re competitors, and we’ll play through contact and talk (expletive) and do whatever. But at some point, it’s continuing to build, and you can sense that. … You’ve got to draw the line early, otherwise, you’re going to get situations like that.”

“I thought all of that could have been prevented, but that’s beside the point,” Turner said.

The three of them aren’t the only ones to question the officiating this season, continuing a trend from other players around the league. But even if the officiating is different, it’s something Mitchell believes the team will adjust to.

3.) Jazz Have Each Others Backs
During his postgame press conference, Royce O’Neale said it best regarding what it means to play for the Jazz.

“I didn’t see it. … But I’m always going to have my teammates back,” he said in all seriousness.

All O’Neale had to do was witness his teammate — in this instance, Gobert — involved in an altercation with someone from the opposing team. No questions asked, O’Neale instantly inserted himself into the middle of the scrum and tried to protect Gobert and his teammates.

Mitchell remembers the same thing as O’Neale, not seeing what started the situation but knowing that his teammate was in trouble and he was all in on helping.

“I’m gonna stick up to my teammates,” Mitchell said. “That’s not going to change.”

Even Snyder got in the action postgame, understanding the emotion displayed by Ingles and Mitchell that led to their ejections.

“Any time that your teammate gets tangled up like that and you see people on the floor, you’re gonna react emotionally,” Snyder said. “You have your teammates back. That’s not atypical in that situation.”

While it’s never good to call it a night before the final buzzer sounds, the mood in the locker room for the Jazz had to be one of family and respect, knowing they all supported one another.

4.) Mitchell And Gobert Continue To Shine
Despite heading to the showers early, Mitchell and Gobert turned in impressive performances against the Pacers.

After a hot start with 11 points in the first quarter, Mitchell finished with 26 total. He added five assists, four rebounds, and three steals while shooting 11-for-20 from the field and 3-for-7 from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, Gobert finished with another double-double, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. He continues to improve and show that he’s a threat offensively and is someone opposing teams must respect on that end of the court.

Jordan Clarkson was the only other Jazz to score in double figures, finishing with 11 points.

The Jazz are widely regarded as one of the league’s deepest teams, but Thursday proved that Mitchell and Gobert, despite their heroics, can’t do it on their own.

5.) Utah Must Refocus Ahead Of Saturday
While emotions were running high Thursday night, mainly due to the game’s physical nature, it can be expected that Saturday’s contest against Miami could be very similar.

The Heat take pride in their rugged style of play, focusing on physicality in all aspects of the game that have led to the league’s No. 7 defensive rating.

The only times the Jazz have seemed uncomfortable on the court has come when the opponents have tried to play bully ball with them — precisely what Miami will try and do.

“We got to bounce back on Saturday and just keep getting better,” Gobert said. “It’s a long season, keep trusting one another and keep playing as a team.”


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