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Utah Jazz defeat bottom-feeder Detroit Pistons in 2nd straight road game

A balanced effort and big games from Kelly Olynyk, Simone Fontecchio, and Ochai Agbaji led the Jazz over the Detroit Pistons

NBA: Utah Jazz at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz took on the Detroit Pistons in a battle of two of the league’s worst teams tonight and escaped with a 119-111 win. Though they are loaded with former lottery picks, the Pistons now have a 2-26 overall record with an ugly 25 straight losses. A lot of eyes were on this game and fans worried this would be a trap game for our Utah Jazz and even national writers took notice of Detroit’s need to win this game to avoid getting closer to a lowly franchise record of 26 straight losses.

Utah was missing their All-Star tonight in Lauri Markannen and also played without Talen Hoton-Tucker, Omer Yurtseven, and Jordan Clarkson. They also continued to miss rookie sensation Keyonte George with an ankle injury.

With so many scorers missing, the Jazz needed some of their role players step up and step up they did.

They were led by number of unlikely heroes in tonight’s game, with fantastic all-around games from Kelly Olynyk (27 points on 3-6 from the 3 point line), Simone Fontecchio (16 points on 4-7 from the three), and Ochai Agbaji off the bench with 18. Olynyk was especially important down the stretch with a number of clutch plays and timely shots.

Collin Sexton also continued his dominant stretch with another showcase of 19 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals.

Kris Dunn also had a great bounce-back game with 13 points and a solid 10 assists. He ran the offense well and kept the turnovers down, which has been a huge issue for Utah this season.

This ended up being the biggest difference in this game, with Detroit committing 20 turnovers and shooting poorly from the three-point line (29% overall). The trio of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Marvin Bagley were Detroit’s top scorers, with Cunningham nearly having a triple double (28 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds. Unfortunately though, he also committed a game-high 6 turnovers, with another 5 coming from Jaden Ivey. The Pistons are not a good team and this was evident throughout the game, though they had a few good runs and even led by 8 at one point.

Once the fourth quarter rolled around, the Jazz had a brief 3-4 minute stretch without a field goal and the Pistons kept the game close, but they couldn’t overcome poor shooting and even worse defense.

Overall, it was a messy game on both ends and for both teams. Olynyk continues to be a glue guy for this team, stepping up when most needed and Fontecchio had a fantastic scoring night after a run of games where his shot wasn’t falling.

Ochai Agbaji popped off the screen throughout the game, with one of his best games in a Jazz uniform. His 18 points were much-needed, but he also looked aggressive on defense and was everywhere on the court.

The Jazz will be back in action on Saturday at the Toronto Raptors and hope to continue the momentum earned from this game and the Christmas wish would be to have a few more healthy bodies to help turn this season around.