Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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Pistons snap skid with rare win in Utah

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[March 25, 2014]  SALT LAKE CITY  The Detroit Pistons will be happy to be home after a four-game trip that included losses to the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.

For a change, though, the Pistons enjoyed a visit to Utah.

Center Andre Drummond and forward Greg Monroe both had double-doubles, and Detroit ended its trip on a positive note with a 114-94 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday.

"I told them before the game, when you go on the road, especially a building like this ... you don't want to be in an eight- to 10-down, catch-up-type game," Detroit coach John Loyer said. "We had a really nice start, and I think that set the tone."

Drummond finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, Monroe contributed 18 points and 11 boards, and guard Rodney Stuckey added 19 points off the bench as the Pistons snapped their five-game losing streak.

Detroit, which still has an outside shot at a playoff spot, earned a rare win in the Beehive State after 10 consecutive setbacks at EnergySolutions Arena. The Pistons (26-44) trail the eighth-place Atlanta Hawks (31-38) by 5 1/2 games.

"(Winning in Utah) is very rare," Stuckey said. "I think we played as a team tonight. ... This win was crucial for us. It's always good to win. Winning cures everything. (We'll) go back home now, play Cleveland Wednesday and try to get another one."


Utah shooting guard Gordon Hayward led all scorers with 32 points and dished out a team-best six assists.

The Jazz, however, could not keep their momentum from a last-second, 89-88 win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday. Utah (23-48) suffered its 12th defeat in 14 games.

"It was a disappointing loss," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.

Detroit jumped ahead 9-2, forcing a visibly upset Corbin to call a quick timeout.

"We came off right from the beginning like we were running in mud," Corbin said. "I don't know if we were thinking about the other night or what, but we've got to play with a lot more energy than we showed tonight."

The Jazz settled down for a while, pulling within 26-23 at the end of the first quarter. However, Detroit dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Jazz 34-17 and taking a 60-40 halftime lead thanks in part to Drummond's 10-point period.

The Jazz, who own the worst record in the West, showed some life in the third quarter after the deficit reached 25 points.

Forward Richard Jefferson scored eight of his 12 points, including two 3-pointers, in a 13-1 Jazz run midway through the third quarter.

After the Jazz pulled within 76-64 a moment later, Detroit responded with a 9-3 spurt that helped it take a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter.

"We didn't have the energy that we had the other night. It's kind of disappointing," Jazz backup forward Marvin Williams said. "I think we were trying to find it, but give Detroit a lot of credit. Every time we made a push, they always had an answer."


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Utah was again without one of its top offensive players, as reserve guard Alec Burks missed his second game with a sprained left ankle. Williams scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench, but the Jazz only got 17 points from their reserves.

Meanwhile, Detroit got a nice lift from its backups, with Stuckey's contributions and 13 points from guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leading a 45-point effort from the subs.

In a statistical sign of Detroit's domination, the Pistons outshot the Jazz 55.4 percent to 41 percent and outrebounded Utah 53-33 while leading wire to wire.

"They outworked us. We were scrambling a little bit on the defensive end, but we were a step slow on everything we did. They were quicker to the ball," Corbin said. "At halftime, I knew they probably doubled us (28-14 in rebounds) and then they beat us by 20 for the game. We're a better rebounding team than that."

NOTES: Jazz G Trey Burke has a hard time understanding how some fans would rather see the team lose to improve its lottery chances than win games. "I think that's just selfish for a fan. We play hard, practice hard every single day. Why would we want to go out there and try to lose?" the former Michigan star said. "Wherever we do land in the lottery, that will be great for us, but to try to tank games and lose games, I think, is just absurd." ... Jazz SG Gordon Hayward, an Indiana native, didn't fill out an NCAA bracket this year. Why? "Butler wasn't in it," he said. "There's no Indiana teams. I'm kind of out of it this year." ... Hayward admitted it is hard for the Hoosier State, seeing as none of its 10 Division I basketball programs participated in March Madness. "A lot of Indiana people are (upset) about it. There's nobody to root for. Basketball is supposed to be Indiana's sport. It was a tough year for them." ... Detroit leads the NBA in points in the paint with 52.6 per game and outscored Utah 54-44 inside Monday. ... Pistons C Andre Drummond is closing in on a franchise shooting record. Before his 9-for-10 night vs. the Jazz, he had a .619 field-goal percentage, putting him on pace to break Detroit's single-season record. Dennis Rodman shot .595 in 1988-89.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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