The tussle began after Gobert appeared to pull Turner down to the ground with him after Turner blocked his shot at the rim with just over four minutes left in the game. Turner responded by shoving Gobert in the back, which led the Jazz center to bear hug Turner and try to wrestle him to the floor.
Turner blamed the scuffle on Gobert knocking him to the floor after the initial play.
“I had to stand up for myself in that situation,” Turner said. “I don’t think I did anything wrong. But that’s not for me to decide. We’ll talk to the league and see what happens from there.”
Mitchell scored 26 points and Gobert added 19 points and 11 rebounds. Mitchell pinned the scuffle on built-up frustration over the referees allowing too much contact early in the game.
“That whole thing could have been avoided — just draw the line early, as opposed to letting it build up for the whole game,” Mitchell said.
Gobert said that the officials “allow guys to do way too much s—” but noted that he didn’t feel like it was a situation where he needed to throw a punch.
“If I don’t feel threatened I’m not gonna throw a punch and get suspended and hurt my team so I didn’t feel no threat at all and I’m not gonna fight on the basketball court,” Gobert said. “But if someone wants to fight I’m easy to reach. I’m very easy to reach. I’m just not going to do it on social media, like if anyone got a problem, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, easy.”
Mitchell got off to a fast start and gave the Jazz an early boost. But after Bojan Bogdanovic drove for a layup to give Utah a 42-38 lead midway through the second quarter, the Pacers held the Jazz to just four baskets over the final 6 ½ minutes before halftime. Meanwhile, Indiana crashed the boards and repeatedly scored second-chance baskets to go back in front.
The Pacers closed the half on an 11-3 run punctuated by back-to-back baskets from T.J. McConnell and took a 60-51 lead.
Gobert scored 11 points in the third quarter to help the Jazz briefly rally. Turner and Malcolm Brogdon combined to make three 3-pointers on three straight possessions to quell the run and extend the Pacers’ lead back to 83-74.
Utah drew no closer than five points in the fourth quarter and had any comeback hopes dashed with the ejections of Mitchell and Gobert late in the quarter. The loss was Utah’s first at home this season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.