This was supposed to be Trey Burke 's homecoming, but it became Gordon Hayward 's night as the Utah Jazz defeated the Detroit Pistons 97-96.
The Jazz jumped out to a 27-21 lead after one as everything was going in. Utah looked fresh and ready to run all over Detroit. Smooth play, sharp passing, and swish swish swish. That was the first quarter as Alec Burks had 8 points and an assist, Derrick Favors had 6 points and an assist. Heck, even Trey Burke drilled a three. Almost nothing could go wrong.
The second quarter saw Joe Ingles start to look like Larry Bird out there with his threes, and Dante Exum making smart decisions with the ball. Alas, Detroit did slow the game down, and went to work on the glass with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Utah couldn't do anything against them for long stretches of the game, not even Rudy Gobert. Enes Kanter tried his best by scoring three buckets to close the half. But Detroit had already chipped away the lead as Brandon Jennings, D.J. Augustin, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope kept shooting -- and before you knew it the game was tied at the half 52-52.
After the half Quin Snyder's clubs have come out with a sense of urgency, but this quarter was brutal. Furthermore, the Jazz guards were not able to set the pace the team played in the first quarter because the Jazz gave up so many offensive rebounds. It's hard to play with pace when the other team still has the ball for a 2nd and 3rd and 4th try. (Detroit had 18 offensive rebounds tonight, 31.6% of their misses went back to them.) Trey Burke was saddled with poor shooting and phantom fouls as he had a disappointing night. Dante Exum couldn't speed the team up alone. And let's move onto the end of the game . . .
. . . where after a Benny Hill themed middle segment, including three turn overs in a row by our most expensive player, the Jazz pulled ahead for good. They cut down on Detroit's offensive rebounding in a big way because Gordon Hayward started to crash the defensive glass. He started to make shots too. In the last five minutes of the game (Jazz down by 5), G-Time had 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 fouls drawn, and yes, three turn overs.
Gordon put the Jazz up by 2, on a three pointer. Then split a pair of free throws, putting the team up by 3. Detroit trimmed the lead to 1 with 28 seconds left. Gordon then cleared it out, went one on one and missed a three pointer with 4.5 seconds left, giving Detroit the ball. After the time out Alec Burks corralled Brandon Jennings into Derrick Favors, and he missed a bad shot that otherwise would have won the game.
- Derrick Favors: 16 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block
- Enes Kanter: 14 points, 11 rebounds, 6/11 shooting
- Gordon Hayward: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, big showing at the end despite 5/13 shooting
- Alec Burks: 14 points, 4 assists (1 TO), 3 rebounds, only 2/4 from the line
- Joe Ingles: 10 points, 3/3 from three, 1/2 from the FT line, 3 rebounds, 1 steal
- Dante Exum: 9 points, 5 assists (0 TO), 3 rebounds 1 steal, 5/5 from the FT line
- Trevor Booker: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 4/8 from the FT line
- Trey Burks: 7 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 1/3 from downtown
The Jazz won. Gordon's heroics did it, though not as cleanly as the Cleveland game. It's good to get the first win of a road trip. The team players tomorrow in Indiana, Hayward's homecoming game. So that means Trey Burke will bust out. Ha, he owes him one.