NBA Basketball

Jazz-Pistons Preview

The Detroit Pistons got a couple of days off to savor a much-needed victory. They're back in action Saturday when they host the Utah Jazz.

Detroit used a late 13-0 run to capture a 101-94 victory at Memphis on Wednesday. The Pistons (17-19) had lost 12 of their previous 15 games.

"It was a gut check," said coach Dwane Casey said. "We said we are going to have to dig ourselves out. We haven't got it there. We are not where we want to be, but it was a gut check. Now we have to continue to play unselfish basketball together."

Power forward Blake Griffin had a typical night -- 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists -- and second-year guard Luke Kennard hit two clutch 3-point shots in the late going. Kennard finished with 13 points, and Casey hopes the 2017 first-round pick can become more consistent.

Kennard is averaging 12.8 points over the past four games after nearly playing his way out of the rotation.

"He has to be aggressive," Casey said. "There were a few times where he pump fakes his own self out of a shot when he has an open 3-point shot. He's got to take that first one."

Griffin played 39 minutes in the second game of a back-to-back, yet he did not commit a turnover for just the second time this season.

"When that win is within reach you get a little extra boost," Griffin said.

The schedule doesn't get any easier. The Pistons host San Antonio on Monday, then embark on a four-game West Coast trip.

They hope their gritty victory in Memphis is the beginning of a turnaround after a brutal December.

"We found a way to pull through and that's what we have to do all year," Kennard said. "We just have to build off of this."

The Jazz will be playing on consecutive nights after clobbering Cleveland 117-91 on Friday.

Veteran reserve guard Kyle Korver returned to Cleveland for the first time since he was traded earlier this season. He scored 10 points against his former team.

Utah is 8-8 since acquiring Korver and has won five of its last eight games.Korver spoke of the transition of changing teams earlier in the day.

"It's amazing how as a player, especially in the NBA, you're engaged and you're all in on a team and an organization and a city and it's like all you think about, all day long," Korver told the Deseret News. "You're 100 percent giving yourself to the city, the organization, the coaching staff and then like that you've got to shift to a whole new set of teammates and coaching staff and organization and city and you have to just do it. You don't get six months to transition, you get a day or two, so I don't know if there's anything in the world where you have to transition this quickly, this deeply."

Utah (19-20) used a balanced attack in its latest victory. It had eight players in double figures, led by second-year guard Donovan Mitchell's 18 points and five assists.

The Jazz hope to build off a strong all-around performance in which they shot 51.2 percent while holding the Cavaliers to 39.0 percent shooting.

Updated January 4, 2019

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2019 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.