Utah Jazz pull away in 2nd half from Detroit Pistons for 104-81 victory


Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Amid early offensive struggles, the Utah Jazz never wavered on defense.

The surging Jazz pulled away for a 104-81 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night by leaning on their trademark rugged defense. Utah ran the Pistons off the 3-point line, holding Detroit to 4-of-14 shooting from the perimeter. The Jazz also forced 17 turnovers and scored 25 points off those miscues.

In the end, Detroit managed a season low in points.

Getting stops revived a sluggish Utah offense. The Jazz shot just 33.3% from the floor in the first half, but connected on 59% of their field goal attempts after halftime. They made 26 baskets over the final two quarters after totaling just 13 through the first 24 minutes.

“The biggest thing in the first half was just the offense getting stagnant,” guard Donovan Mitchell said. “We did what we wanted on defense.”

Mitchell scored 23 points and Jordan Clarkson added 20 to lead the Jazz. Rudy Gobert added 13 points and 19 rebounds, and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 17 as Utah won for the eighth time in nine games.

Derrick Rose had 20 points to lead the Pistons, and Andre Drummond added 15 points and 13 rebounds. Detroit has dropped seven straight against Utah.

“It’s the tale of two halves and until we grow up and understand that, that’s our cross to bear,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said.

Utah never found much of an offensive rhythm in the first half. The Jazz did not score their first basket until five minutes into the game. Detroit did not fare much better, shooting 38% in the half. That opened the door for Utah to keep things close.

The Pistons carved out a 38-31 lead late in the second quarter when Tim Frazier capped a 9-2 run with a driving layup. Detroit never trailed during the period, but could not pull away. Utah closed the gap in the final two minutes, cutting the deficit to 40-39 going into halftime when Mitchell and Gobert each scored on a dunk and Mitchell added a pair of free throws.

The Jazz really got rolling on offense in the third quarter. Utah opened the second half with a 16-2 run to take a 55-42 lead midway through the period. Mitchell sparked the surge with back-to-back baskets, and Joe Ingles punctuated it with consecutive buckets as well.