Wow. I mean, Wow. What a crazy game. The Utah Jazz withstood a hungry, tired, and injured Detroit Pistons team -- and their 30 points barrage in the fourth quarter -- to win their fifth game in a row. I don't think anyone expected the Jazz to win by the final score of 88-85. Detroit was on the last game of a long road trip, and few teams were hotter than Utah. When the game started you had to check your ideas at the door and watch these two teams face off.
The first quarter was a paint battle between Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert against Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Sadly, Drummond had to leave the game at halftime due to the NBA's concussion protocol; and in a three point game he could have made a difference one way or the other. The Jazz were turning the ball over and Rodney Hood (and others) were missing open shots. The Pistons were trying to crash the boards, and were somewhat successful. It was ugly basketball, when both teams finally hit 10 points you felt a little better for both sides.
Utah took some level of control in the second, despite poor bench play from Trey Burke -- and the generalized lack of anything demonstrative from Gordon Hayward. (Are we expecting too much?) The Jazz had a 6 point lead at half, and that extended to 7 after three. Game over, right? Nope. The last 6 minutes of this game are must watch for fans of both teams. The Pistons were successful in saying patient, working the ball around for threes -- and fighting hard in the paint with Joel Anthony (really). For Jazz fans you got to see brilliant play by stars in the making, even if not everyone was on the same page tonight.
With Detroit down by three at the 6:09 mark they were forced to call a time out. That didn't work out well for the Pistons as the jazz stole the ball and got Favors a layup. After another Pistons turn over (Rodney Hood steal, Dante Exum chase down save, and then layup to Hood) the Jazz were up by 7 with 5:15 left.
Game over, right? Nope.
Reggie Jackson hit a three, Rudy Gobert was called for a travel (the refs were awful for both teams), and then Anthony Tolliver (really) threw down a dunk and then it became a two point game all in a matter of seconds. Both head coaches Stan Van Gundy and Quin Snyder had to call a number of time outs over the next three minutes because both teams weren't giving up. Stan didn't want to lose 10 in a row. Quin didn't want to lose to yet another bad team on their own home court.
The Jazz traded layups and free throws for three pointers, and after a brilliant Gordon Hayward cut and dunk (Gobert with the assist) the Jazz were up 86-83. The Pistons went to Greg Monroe out of a time out and scored easily, one point game again. The Jazz took a time out with 0:30 second remaining and Jazz fan pariah Trey Burke got the ball, and scored on a 9 foot floater with 0:13 seconds left -- Jazz up by 3. Detroit couldn't get anything the rest of the way, even with Rudy Gobert missing two free throws with the game still in the balance.
Awesome win for this team. Awesome to see defense win it. And for me, extra awesome for Trey Burke to get another game winner.
I'm so old I saw this movie in the theater and I remember it.
He's a prime time player who can score while having very short term memory of how he is playing. That's not the perfect skill, but it is a skill. And he has more game winners for this team in two seasons than many other players. Food for thought.
Greg Monroe had 16 and 13. Drummond, in 11 minutes, finished with 4 and 2. On the other side, Favors and Gobert gave the Pistons 36 points and 20 rebounds -- with 6 blocks to boot. Not bad.
The backcourt Hex (Rodney Hood and Dante Exum) finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals -- while making 4 threes. That's a lot better than what our back court has given the Jazz in a long time.
Gordon Hayward made shots when he had the ball in his hands, and finished with 12 off of 8 total shots. He took the back seat this game as Derrick Favors was the engine that drove this team. Also want to give a shout out to Trevor Booker, his energy on offense and defense is really a great change-up to the bigs who start.
All in all, a team win. Happy for it. It would have been devastating to lose to the Pistons. The Jazz play next on Monday, hosting the Charlotte Hornets for game 4 of their season high five game home stand.