Pistons fall to Jazz, 115-104

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Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — You can book that losing season for the Pistons.

They made sure of it Wednesday with a 115-104 loss to the Jazz. With the loss, the Pistons (22-42) are guaranteed their second consecutive losing season (they were 39-43 last season).

Without Rodney Stuckey (illness) and Ben Wallace (right knee strain), the Pistons were little match for the Jazz.

“They were knocking down shots left and right,” said Will Bynum, noting Utah’s 56.3 percent shooting. “Utah is always tough to defend because it’s so patient and runs it’s stuff all the way through and shares the basketball.”

The Pistons actually led 29-28 after the first quarter. But with both benches starting the second, the Jazz scored the first 14 — making 10 of their first 11 shots — to take a 42-29 lead.

Utah stretched the advantage to 63-43 at halftime.

“We fueled their offense by taking our shots and not getting good shots,” coach John Kuester said. “From that point on, you’re working uphill. You’re trying to get close and we don’t have a large margin for error at this stage.”

The Pistons cut the lead to 11 points in the second half, but got no closer.

Charlie Villanueva had 19 points to lead the Pistons. Richard Hamilton had 16 points and Jason Maxiell added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Mehmet Okur, Paul Millsap and Deron Williams (12 assists) all had 18 points for the Jazz (42-22).

“They made their runs and we couldn’t bounce back,” Villanueva said.

Said Utah coach Jerry Sloan: “We played awfully well in that first half, especially that second quarter. We shot the ball really well. “

Last Updated: March 11. 2010 1:52AM