Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! What an epic beatdown by the Utah Jazz (25-16), who mopped the Aunt Viv floor with the Detroit Pistons (18-24), 110-77. This was such a screwy game with the overt similarities and differences between the two clubs. Stan Van Gundy and Quin Synder both play slow, defense first tempos.
And defense was winning the day in the first quarter where the score was 0-0 until the 9:45 mark. (Defense or bad shooting?) Utah, powered by George Hill, drew first blood and ran off to a 10-0 lead. SVG called time out and Detroit responded by going 19-4 the rest of the quarter. Quin’s guys were keeping Reggie Jackson bottled up, and Rudy Gobert v Andre Drummond was a test for both guys, but Detroit found guys to step up and make shots. Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris were attacking and getting things done, while the Jazz just kept bricking shot after shot.
Things changed after the first quarter, though. Numerically, Utah would score 96 points over the next 36 minutes. A huge part of that was Rodney Hood catching fire in the second, and Gordon Hayward finding his all-around game footing. Combined, Hill, Hood, and Hayward would finish with 69 points. Nice. The trio would drop 15 threes (off of 21 attempts) on Motown. Utah’s patient offense was what really helped these guys find easy, open shots.
Off the bench I think we have to give major props to Boris Diaw who came off the bench to play defense, post up and hit fade aways, and somehow lead the team in assists — in just 18 minutes of play.
It was a wacky game, but Utah’s offense just couldn’t be stopped by Detroit — a pretty solid defensive club in their own right. It’s almost impossible to compete against the Jazz who shoot 43/80 (53.8 FG%) and 16/31 (51.6 3PT%). Utah would only get to the line 13 times in this game, and would shoot 61.5% from there . . . but it didn’t matter at all when the Jazz were on fire from outside.
Snyder played all 13 guys in uniform tonight. Joe Johnson hit a shot from halfcourt.
Shelvin Mack finally got replaced by Dante Exum (second on the team in assists, tied for first in steals). Joe Ingles didn’t have to guard LeBron James. Derrick Favors almost had a double double. Trey Lyles wasn’t that effective, but Jeff Withey and Alec Burks were brought out of mothballs.
It’s a huge blowout for a Jazz team riding high right now. Detroit played last night against the Golden State Warriors and are missing three rotation players. We know what that’s like. But Utah just wanted it more, and they outplayed Detroit. Period.
Utah plays tomorrow, at home, against the Orlando Magic. Orlando played tonight (and beat the Portland Trail Blazers), and will be playing not just their second night of a back to back; but also their third game in four nights.