Drummond, Pistons blow by Jazz to snap skid
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Detroit Pistons hadn’t played this well in Utah since John Stockton and Karl Malone were on the Jazz.
Andre Drummond had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Detroit shot a season-best 55 percent to blow by the Jazz 114-94 Monday night.
It was the Pistons’ first victory in Utah since Richard Hamilton had 28 points in an 80-78 squeaker on Nov. 6, 2002, that was aided by an ill Malone taking the night off.
When guard Rodney Stuckey found out, he couldn’t believe it.
"Wow. Well this is very rare, absolutely, but we really played as a team," said Stuckey, who had 19 points.
Brandon Jennings, who scored 15, said he was probably 12 or 13 years old the last time the Pistons won in Utah — and this one reminded him of being a kid on the playground.
"Tonight felt like a pickup game. We were getting things that were so easy," Jennings said.
Drummond shot 9 for 10 from the field and Greg Monroe added 18 points and 11 rebounds to help the Pistons snap a 14-game road losing streak in the finale of a four-game Western Conference trip.
"We were both aggressive. We moved around trying to get second shots … and we did a good job being patient," Monroe said.
Gordon Hayward scored 32 points — his highest total since he had 37 against Oklahoma City on Jan. 7 — to lead the Jazz, who have lost seven of eight.
Hayward converted a three-point play to slice the lead to 88-76 with 10:03 to play, but the Jazz couldn’t get any closer. Each time they made a run, the Pistons responded with a 3-pointer or a basket near the rim.
"It’s too difficult when you let teams get going like this. They feel good about all the shots they get," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Detroit went 9 for 17 from 3-point range and ended a five-game losing streak.
Just as they did when their comeback fell just short against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, the Pistons used crisp ball movement to find open shots. They topped their previous mark for accuracy (54 percent) set against Atlanta on Feb. 21.
"We just took what their defense gave us. We were able to move the ball around, we were making shots and we made everybody look good tonight," Jennings said.
Monroe scored on a pass from Kyle Singler to stake the Pistons to their largest lead at 71-46 in the third quarter.
The Pistons still have an outside shot at the playoffs, but they need more efforts like this one. Detroit outrebounded Utah 53-33 and hounded the Jazz into 7-of-27 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Pistons gained a game on the Hawks, who lost to Phoenix on Monday, but still trail them by 5 games for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with 12 games remaining.
The Jazz missed the offensive creativity of Alec Burks, the team’s second-leading scorer. He sat out his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. Utah’s roster doesn’t feature many players who can create their own shot, and once the Pistons interrupted the Jazz sets, they were forced into several off-balance jumpers to beat the shot clock.
In the first half, the Pistons didn’t miss many attempts, shooting at a 61 percent clip. When they did happen to misfire, they were often there to get the rebound and put the ball back in. Of their 16 misses, the Pistons retrieved nine of them on their way to a 60-40 halftime lead.
The Pistons avenged a 110-89 loss at home Jan. 17 when Trey Burke led Utah with 20 points and 12 assists. This time around, the former Michigan star was outplayed by both Jennings and Stuckey and shot just 6 of 15 for 15 points with two assists.
"It’s tough, but we’ve just got to continue to learn," Burke said. "They had more energy than us early on and when we did try and make a push, it was kind of too late."
The Jazz, who have shown effort throughout this trying season, looked spent and splintered against Detroit. Players and coaches were yelling at each other, no one was sprinting to the timeout huddles, and hustle plays were few and far between. The Jazz, who never led, own the worst record in the Western Conference.
NOTES: The Jazz were only able to convert Detroit’s 13 turnovers into six points. Utah had a season-low seven turnovers, but they led to 14 Detroit points. … The Pistons outscored the Jazz 34-17 in the second, their most dominant quarter of the season. … Drummond entered the game ranked second in the NBA in field goal percentage.