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Jazz edge Pacers 114-110 in overtime

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Jazz edge Pacers 114-110 in overtime

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Al Jefferson scored 25 points and Paul Millsap had 21, leading the Utah Jazz to a 114-110 overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Utah scored the first six points in overtime after blowing a 97-89 lead with 2:44 left in regulation. Gordon Hayward coughed up three turnovers to Indiana's George Hill in the final minute of the fourth.

Paul George scored 24 points, David West added 23 and Hill had 22 for Indiana (26-18), which lost for the third time in four road games. The Pacers outrebounded the Jazz 41-28.

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 Paul George's tying free throws with 9.5 seconds left.

The Jazz 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.

Utah 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.

The Pacers pulled within three on a 3-pointer from 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 seal the win.

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.

It paid off when the Jazz put together a 9-0 run capped by Derrick Favors' dunk off a lob pass from Earl Watson, putting Utah in front 69-59 lead late in the quarter.

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Isaiah Thomas wants to make it clear that Marcus Smart flops

Isaiah Thomas wants to make it clear that Marcus Smart flops

When you know, you know.

Washington Wizards starting point guard Isaiah Thomas gave his take on former teammate Marcus Smart's reputation for flopping. Spoilers: he flops.

Thomas, who is returning to Boston on Wednesday for the first time as a starter, was teammates with Smart during his run with the Celtics from 2014-17. He didn't hold back from interrupting reporters to make sure everyone knows that Smart flops. (See the entire sequence play out in the video above.)

Despite being familiar with Smart, don't expect Thomas to know everything about how the Celtics will prepare for the Wizards. Thomas pointed out that only two of his former teammates are still with the team.

His history with Boston means a lot to Thomas, but his only focus on Wednesday will be earning the victory.

"The love is genuine between me and the city," Thomas said. "Hopefully we can just win the game. That's the most important." 

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Lamar Jackson’s play this season has begun to make some analysts and fans backtrack 

Lamar Jackson’s play this season has begun to make some analysts and fans backtrack 

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson is starting to make people reconsider what they think of him. 

After the Ravens’ 49-13 win over the Bengals on Sunday, the rest of the NFL is starting to take notice about Lamar Jackson’s status in the NFL. Especially considering his spin move through the Bengals defense.

Hall of Fame NFL general manager Bill Polian recently admitted that he was wrong when he said that Jackson should be an NFL wide receiver during his draft process in 2018.

“I was wrong, because I used the old, traditional quarterback standard with him, which is clearly why John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome were more prescient than I was,” Polian told USA TODAY Sports. 

Jackson is currently building an MVP case for himself and is on-pace for over 30 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards of total offense. 

It’s a nice change of pace for the 22-year-old quarterback in his second year as a pro. Jackson had to face heavy criticism after he left Louisville for a variety of reasons headed into the draft. Even after he took over as the Ravens quarterback, those evaluations persisted. 

“We always knew what he was about,” Ravens center Matt Skura said. “We always knew his ability to make plays and all that stuff. I think it’s just people right now seeing it on a much larger scale and it’s just getting the attention now.”

At this point, however, it’s clear that not only is Jackson a quarterback, he might even be the MVP of the league.

Of the five quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 2018 Draft, only four are starting and just two have led their teams to a winning record. Jackson leads all of his draft counterparts in total yards and total touchdowns. 

But as anyone in the Ravens’ locker room will say, the accolades don’t concern Jackson — only the record does.

“I think he’s more concerned with winning than anything,” Orlando Brown Jr. said. “As individuals, we’ve all got people to prove wrong and things that we used to put a chip on our shoulder. At the end of the day, I know he’s more concerned with winning more than anything.”

Still, it’s noteworthy that it only took Jackson a complete season of starts, through two partial seasons, to begin the backtracking across the NFL landscape.

“If you watch ESPN or you watch TV, it’s going to come up no matter what,” Skura said. “Even on your Instagram feed it’s going to come up. I think for a lot of us, just in one ear and out the other as far as people pumping us up. You’ve kind of got to stay level-headed and ride the rollercoaster, so to say.”

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